Last week, the smiling chinese man asked my name after I commented that his smile was a pretty good start to my day. His smile got bigger after that which I didn’t think was possible. “Robyn” I said, “My name is Robyn”. We say everything twice because our accents are so different. “Robin…” he said slowly, then his eyes lit up and he grinned “Robin Hood!” Quick-as-a-flash I retorted, “I don’t do any robbing!” and grinned straight back at him. He shook his head, “No, no, you no robbing, you no Robin Hood” and we started laughing. “Nope” I said, “just Robyn!”
It wasn’t until I was waiting to cross the road that I noticed that after two years of serving me, I didn’t know his name.
This week, the other chinese guy who has noticed my habit of purchasing a couple of Wagon Wheels totally caught me by surprise. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, a Wagon Wheel is a big chocolate-coated, marshmallow and jam filled, biscuit that I have been addicted to since I was a kid. Anyway, he was putting the items through and he said “Only one wheel?” I looked at him quizzically and he continued, “Usually you need two wheels or how are you going to get anywhere? Maybe you need four wheels, four wheels is better then you can drive. A car maybe or two for a bicycle, but one…? Or can you ride with just one?” He grinned at me so I said, “Maybe, I don’t know…I can’t ride a bike so that’s out. Four? Yes four wheels is probably easiest…???” I hesitated for a moment, then I cracked up laughing. “Ha!” I said, “Wagon Wheel! You’re talking about the Wagon Wheel. I had absolutely no idea why you were going on about wheels”.
It wasn’t until I got home that I finally stopped laughing to myself, but I’m doing it again now so I don’t know…
Today I bought two Wagon Wheels and the smiling chinese man was serving. “Hello Robyn” he said with a big grin, “Hello!” I replied. Again, he said “Robyn, yes Robyn” and we nodded and smiled at each other. The other chinese guy turned around looking thoroughly amused and said “You told him your name” and then turned back to what he was doing. I laughed and said to the smiling chinese man, “You know, I don’t know your name. What’s going on with that?” The other chinese guy spun around again and said “Where is your name tag? You have to wear your name tag” and started unzipping the man’s jacket. He covered his chest with his hands and hunched his shoulders and said “I’m shy” in classic slapstick. The other chinese guy points to me and he can barely contain himself, “You, you’re Juliet” he said “And him, his name is Romeo!”
I am still in shock that they might have been flirting with me. Too funny. Here I am concentrating and struggling to understand and be understood and here they are winding me up, having the time of their lives.
About a year ago I started on a mission to improve the quality of daily life and to be honest all I did was decide it needed to improve. In my simplified view of the world, delightful interactions like these constitute a significant improvement, don’t you think?
— By Robyn Murray