This post is about a cup of coffee, a bridge or two and a $5 bill.One morning earlier this summer when my co-worker H walked across the Museum courtyard on her way to the coffee-cart, she noticed an older couple standing on the side trying to read the map of the Museum. Though desperate for a cup of coffee she decided to be kind and stopped to try help the tourists.
“Where do you want to go?” she asked them, but they didn’t understand, so she tried, “What are you looking for?” still no comprehension.
H pointed to the map and said, “Impressionist paintings?” (a large percentage of tourists who visit the museum only want to see those paintings), but they stared blankly at her, so she simplified her question to: “Van Gogh…? Monet…?”
That’s when the man understood her. He said something to his wife and pointed to H’s hand – she was holding a five dollar bill for her espresso – the woman looked startled, but quickly opened her purse, took out her wallet and handed H a $5 bill.Now H was confused. “No! No! You don’t need to tip us for giving directions around the museum,” she said, giving back the money to the woman who didn’t want to take it, and noticing that the couple had started backing away from her.
H was sorry she’d started this conversation, she really needed her coffee – we only get a fifteen minute break and she still had to go stand in the line at the coffee cart – so speaking very slowly she pointed: “See that building over there? P-a-i-n-t-i-n-g-s by I-m-p-r-e-s-s-i-o-n-i-s-t-s like M-o-n-e-t …”
After she’d said “Monet” that slowly she realized what had happened, and why the sweet old couple were backing away from her. When she’d said “Monet” they thought she’d said “money” and assumed that this is big bad America where people can say “Give me money!” [I think they also may have had trouble understanding H’s Lebanese accent.]
H started laughing and soon ended up bent over double, holding her stomach, with tears running down her cheeks.
The tourists weren’t laughing. She thinks they understood the joke after she made them follow her all the way to the Impressionist galleries and pointing to the paintings by Monet, she said “Monet” and pointing to the $5 she said “money”.
I’d love to hear their version of the story. 🙂Before I end off, a quick UPDATEabout another bridge:
Last weekend’s Carmageddon-2 was a success. Inspite of the 100 degree temps, everything was finished ahead of schedule, and crews also trimmed trees, filled potholes, and paved southbound lanes.
It was a big challenge to demolish the northern section of the Mulholland Bridge because:
- the bridge is 80 feet high
- the span was nearly one-third bigger than last year’s section
- they had to take down four concrete supports (two more than last year) each encased with 3/4 inch steel to protect against earthquakes,
- workers had to make sure that the chunks of concrete they knocked down didn’t damage the newly built portion of the bridge.
Crews removed 2,700 cubic yards of material, including 300 tons of steel and a four-foot thick pad of sand laid down to protect the freeway from falling rubble.
Four inline skaters and three pedestrians received citations for attempting to walk on the empty freeway.
The worst traffic jams occurred on Carmageddon Sunday when motorists unexpectedly discovered road closures in West Los Angeles for the Herbalife Triathlon: two thousand-five hundred competitors from all over the world swam, cycled, and ran from Venice Beach to the Staples Center.
[Unfortunately neither of the two paintings by Monet which I used to illustrate this post are at our Museum… I wish they were. They’re my favorites.]