Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Moment #638. French, Wolof at gas station. Tue, Jul 4, 2006.

07/04/2006. I left the Chinese restaurant and felt a definite "tug" to take the long way home instead of the main road by which I came. That usually means that opportunities lie ahead. I ended up stopping at four gas stations on the East/West road before turning South. None of them had any obvious opportunities, and I merely bought a few two-liters of pop that I'd end up using, and some newspapers. I also made note of three more Chinese restaurants for future trips.

I then headed South towards Indianapolis, and came to a large commercial area. I saw a gas station of a brand that is known to employ a lot of immigrants. But by the time I received the "tug" towards it, it was too late to turn. So I went to the next light and turned into that shopping center, and drove through that shopping center's parking lot towards the gas station.

As I drove through the shopping center, I felt a definite tug towards those stores, but not to any store in particular. The only store among that group where I could do some needed shopping was a national department store, so I made a mental note to return there, as I needed to buy some new pants.

I pulled into the gas station, and went inside. The clerk was a black man speaking a foreign language on the phone, so this was the place. I bought a newspaper, asked him "parlez-vous francais?" "Oui," he replied. "D'ou ette vous?" (Where are you from) "Senegal." "Ahh. Parlez-vous Wolof." "Oui, parlez-vous Wolof?" "Tuuti Wolof rek laa deg," I replied. (I only speak a little Wolof.)

He was genuinely surprised and happy. We alternated between French and English, as my French is very limited. I asked him to wait a minute, and that I had something in my car I'd bring in to show him. His excitement was so great I didn't want to spoil it with any more questions. I went out and retrieved French and English Books of Mormon. He was very pleased to receive them. We chit-chatted a bit, and he said he'd call some time.

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