Friday, November 23, 2007

Happy Birthday, BT! (and a brick story)

Today is a faithful reader (and all around fabulous woman)'s birthday, so in honor of this auspicious day, a story I think she'll find funny.

So, we've been hunting for free, old bricks for our patio project next summer. (Note: My best friend: "Where the hell do you find old bricks?"; Me: "People just have them lying around their yards".) So every time I go anywhere, I'm scanning for bricks.

A few months ago, we noticed that a new Chinese Restaurant in our old neighborhood had a pile of bricks by the side of the building. Two side notes: (1) this place is called "No. 1 Restaurant", so of course the running joke is that we're thrilled it's not the unfortunate "No. 2 Restaurant", and (2) this used to be a slightly creepy video store we used to walk to. Eew.

The other day I found myself early for an appointment and in that neighborhood, so I figured, what the heck, I'll just go ask if I can have those bricks. They were sitting there for a long time, apparently useless.

Curtains rise. Girl walks into Chinese restaurant. Woman on phone, talking in Chinese, motions to paper menus on counter. Girl looks at menu briefly (knowing she won't order from the former video store), and goes to the drink fridge, pulling out a water and pretending not to wait for the woman to get off the phone.

Woman [in Chinese, asks person on line to hold on a moment], juts chin toward girl as if to ask - what do you want?

Girl: I noticed you have a pile of old bricks outside, and I'm collecting old bricks for a project. If you want to get rid of those bricks, I'd like to take them.

Woman: [strange look], What? [Tells person on phone to hold on, in Chinese]

Girl: [motioning wildly, to act out a brick pile around the building], loudly, Sometimes people want to get rid of old bricks. You have a pile of bricks. Do you want them or can I take them?

Woman: [in poor English] Is that your car there? What's wrong?

...this goes on, until woman motions to young man in restaurant to watch the counter [spoken in Chinese] and follows girl out to brick pile. Girl explains again about bricks. Woman shakes head in dismay, goes back inside, girl follows. Woman sends young man out to figure out the situation. Girl follows young man to brick pile, explains. Young man furrows brow, goes back inside.

Woman goes back outside, followed by girl and young man, listens to question about bricks again (heavily aided by charade-like gesticulations), and finally woman says, "I used to think, 'keep', but now you take".

Girl: (motioning) Me take? OK? [OK signal with hand]

Woman: Yes [goes inside]

Girl pulls car around & loads bricks.

It was a great moment when (I think) the woman was admitting that she, too, was some sort of a pack rat, saving the bricks for something, but ready to let them go when a crazy girl asked for them.

So far, we have 36 more bricks but it's a big pile so we'll go get more now that we have permission. The next place we've found with a brick pile is in a pretty trashy neighborhood, so there ought to be a good story when we screw up the nerve to ask there, too.

Moral of story: was there one? Maybe it's 'hell, might as well ask'. We gets lots of stuff that way.

So on your birthday, BT, ask for the moon! And we hope you get it.


Sandy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sandy said...

I meant to say, "Good score on the bricks!" There are gremlins in my keyboard! LOL