Museum Musings: Give me the money!

This post is about a cup of coffee, a bridge or two and a $5 bill.

Poppy field by Claude Monet 1873 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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.

Hungarian Stamp issued to publicize the value of savings.
By Darjac [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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.  🙂

Monet’s “Water lilies and Japanese Bridge” [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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.]

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About dearrosie

We think we need so much, when all we really need is time to breathe. Come walk with me, put one foot in front of the other, and get to know yourself. Please click the link to my blog - below - and leave me a comment. I love visitors.
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37 Responses to Museum Musings: Give me the money!

  1. sybil says:

    Wonderful story. What an interesting place you work Rosie…

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Sybil,
      I’m glad you enjoyed my little story.
      Hundreds of people from all over the world come to the Museum every day, so we never know what our next encounter will bring. It keeps the days from being dull. On Thursday I met a Russian family -from Vladivostok – who’d emigrated to New Zealand. Imagine the culture shock of that move!

  2. E fullstop says:

    What a silly encounter! I’m glad that in addition to that misunderstanding, the couple didn’t also think that at the suggestion of seeing Van Gogh’s paintings they were being told to “go” and leave the museum in a “van”

    • dearrosie says:

      Oh that’s too funny e fullstop! It’s very possible that because American’s pronounce Van Gogh as “van-go” (and not Van GoGH) they could’ve thought it meant give me the money and get out!

  3. Reggie says:

    What a funny story! I too wonder what those tourists will tell their families back home…

    And such a relief that you all survived Carmageddon2… phew!

    • dearrosie says:

      Whatever they thought of the story I hope they went away not telling everyone back home how in America you can get “robbed” even in broad daylight and even in a museum!
      So many of my readers wanted to know what happened at Carmageddon-2 that I added the update here. I know it doesn’t really belong here but I didn’t want to make it a special post.
      Yes we survived the closure of the freeway BUT it’s going to take another couple of years of dreadful traffic snarl-ups i.e awful commutes to work before it’s completed.

  4. I’m seeing a remake of the movie Jerry Maguire when Gooding and Cruise have a SHOW ME THE MONEY (Monet) exchange. Funny story.

    I made the mistake of clicking the link to the Herbalife Triathlon with photos of people with zero body fat. Our Saturday morning breakfast plan of pancakes has been scrapped. Plan B: egg white omelette! 🙂

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi EOS,
      Very funny to think that someone could be inspired by reading my post to write this story into a movie… I want full credit y’all!

      One has to do all that extra work to add the link so thanks for telling me that you clicked over to the Herbalife Triathlon 🙂 I can’t imagine running a marathon let alone being able to run, bike and swim, it makes me exhausted and hungry just thinking of it…
      Talking of hungry can I invite myself over for Saturday breakfast pancakes? Perhaps the spider will have left another one of those amazing webs for me to see.

  5. Val says:

    Your work – apart from the tiredness that I’m sure you feel from it – must keep you entertained well beyond even your posts here, Rosie! 🙂

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Val,
      You’re right, although it’s really tiring having to stand an entire day, I come home each night with so many more stories than I’ve shared here. For instance, the past week I noticed some really funny tee-shirts, but if I added it at the end of this post it would’ve been too long, so it went into the already overflowing folder of stories waiting to be shared …

  6. Robin says:

    Great story, Rosie. Funny, too. Like you, I wonder what the couple’s version would be. Glad Carmageddon2 worked out well. 🙂

    • dearrosie says:

      Nice to know you enjoyed the story Robin.
      I know Carmageddon-2 doesn’t really belong here, but I didn’t want to make it a special post. Traffic takes over too much of our lives. Yes we survived the weekend closure but it’s not all over, we still have another couple of years of awful commutes to work.

  7. Ha ha this was great – just ask my children, I always call out as they’re leaving ‘have you got monet?’ (and I liked the update to carmageddon too)..

  8. Beautiful Monet paintings. Love the story . Made me laugh. I work in an environment with multi-cultural co-workers and there are times we had to stop and laugh at how we pronounce the words when our accents gets to thick. It’s what makes us all unique , beautiful and amazing. Won’t trade it for the world. Have a great weekend.

    • dearrosie says:

      I’m glad you liked the paintings and the story IT.

      The most important thing to remember is we all have funny accents, so don’t judge others, and always be willing to laugh at ourselves. Even though I’ve lived here over a decade I still use English words that Americans don’t use.

  9. shoreacres says:

    The first thing I thought of while reading your wonderful tale was Abba’s “Money, Money, Money”. I think we should create “Museum: The Musical!”
    Between the linguistic misunderstandings and the daily struggle to get to the coffee cart, there’s plenty of material. I’m not sure yet where we’ll insert the chorus line, but there has to be a place. Maybe in the Impressionist gallery, in front of a Degas ballerina, or, even better, the post-Impressionists in front of Toulouse-Lautrec. Possible song title? “I’m Not Impress-ed”!

    • dearrosie says:

      I really love the idea of making a musical on the “Museum…” I’m not impress-ed is a marvelous title.
      Instead of just standing behind our cash registers we can have a chorus line of us cashiers doing the can-can… heh heh

      Oh man Linda, you remember my coffee cart woes. I never go near the cart when the coffee nazi’s working. Hey, did they sing a song in the Seinfeld story about the soup nazi that we could borrow?

  10. I, too, would love to hear the couple’s version of the story. 🙂 Never a dull moment at the museum with the endless parade of fascinating people to observe and interact with! I love those two Monet paintings, too. Now you’ve got me wondering if there ever has been or ever will be an American stamp issued to publicize the value of savings…

  11. OMG the Monet Story is wonderful! xoxox Lil

  12. Hahaha! Sometimes,it’s better if everyone just looks at the art, I think 🙂

  13. What a story in miscommunication! I bet your files are full of more.
    Glad you survived Carmageddon…what a name that applies and I learned it from you.

    • dearrosie says:

      It’s true I have dozens of stories I haven’t shared.
      I survived the Carmageddon weekend BUT I still have another two years of horrible traffic while the extra lane on the 405 is being constructed.
      Georgette I’m delighted to be able to teach you new words 🙂

  14. cindy says:

    Thanks for the chuckle, Rosie. I’ve spent some time here getting my fix of your posts 🙂

    • dearrosie says:

      I’m delighted to pass on a chuckle to you Cindy. In fact anytime you need to laugh just thinking of this should have you in hysterics 🙂

      I cannot understand why this comment of yours ended up in my spam. You’ve been a blogging buddy for over a year!

  15. eof737 says:

    What a great story… Enjoyed it! 😉

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