March 12th, 2006

krazy koati

So just talk away

I don't often go to Kentucky Fried Chicken, particularly not the one near my apartment. Largely that's a practical matter: weekdays I'm usually on campus for dinner, and it's more convenient to eat near there. On weekends I'm usually well away from my home when it's dinnertime. But when I do eat there, there's one unfailingly odd event, my encounter with an elderly man, on staff, who's normally cleaning the tables and floors.

He likes me, which isn't atypical. He also likes striking up conversations with me, which I try to be polite about, no matter how it bugs me trying to talk while eating, particularly when I have a book to read. The only thing is I never know what it is he's saying. Part of that is my inability to pay precise attention to people outside of classes, when I really focus on it; that takes particular energy. Part of it is he's got a moderate accent and tends to mumble, so words get jumbled up to my ear. And then he just gets in to talking about things that seem, to me, non sequiturs, so I can't put his side of the conversation together into a logical progression. Usually I just end up smiling and nodding, and he's happy with that.

Today, if I haven't got it wrong, he was curious about how I'd been here so long, and whether I took Singaporean money home. I have been here a while, yes, and I do bring Singaporean money -- whether he meant in bank accounts or in actual bills and coins I don't know, but the answer to either is yes -- home, which made him extremely happy. No need to thank me; I just want to make the day a bit happier than it had been.

Trivia: The word ``caddy'' (as in a small box or container) comes from Malay. Source: The Story of the English Language, Mario Pei.

Currently Reading: Alexander Hamilton: A Biography, Forrest McDonald.