Posted by: Marie | October 26, 2010

(430) Talking in circles

Post #430
[Private journal entry written on Thursday, April 22, 2010]

After the heaviness of the past few days, I received some comic relief today . . .

First thing this afternoon, I received a phone call from a gentleman about piano lessons. His heavy Hispanic accent and rudimentary grasp of the English language caused us to struggle with understanding each other.

Now, most people who call ask about price, duration, frequency, schedule, lesson format, etc. Not this dude. He started off with . . .

Hakka Tung Blossom by Martin Chen

Dude: Hi. My name is [unintelligible]. I saw your picture in the newspaper. I’m calling about piano lessons. Can we start on Monday? I can come in the morning . . .

Me: Well, um . . . well, I usually first meet with potential students for a 30-minute, no charge, no obligation consultation. We can talk about the details at that time. Would the lessons be for you or your child?

Dude: I would like the lessons.

Me: Okay . . . so you would be taking the lessons? I mean, the lessons would be for you and not for your child . . . if you have one . . . or not . . .

Dude: No.

Me: I see. Okay, well . . . may I ask what your name is again? I missed it the first time.

Dude: [Unintelligible]

Me: Okay . . . so . . . I’m available tomorrow morning at 9am. Would that work for you?

Dude: Yes. How much money should I bring?

Me: Well, I don’t charge for the initial consultation . . . so you wouldn’t need to bring money until the first lesson.

Dude: Will we be taking a lesson tomorrow?

Me: I don’t have time available to do both a consultation and a lesson tomorrow morning, so it would just the consultation.

Dude: Can we just do the lesson?

Me: I think it would be best if we have a consultation first to work out the details.

Dude: Where are you at?

Me: My studio is located at the corner of Main and Elm. Do you know where that is?

Dude: No. I don’t live here.

Me: Oh . . . where do you live?

Dude: I live in Portland.

Me: As in Portland, Oregon?

[Editorial note: Portland and my town are about 1,200 miles (1,930 km) apart.]

Dude: Yes.

Me: I see. Um . . . do you know that my studio is in the state of Colorado?

Dude: Yes, I know! I’m here now.

Me: Okay, well . . . um . . . are you familiar with the intersection of Main and Second Street?

[Editorial note: My town is quite small . . . it measures about three miles (5 km) wide by about three miles (5 km) long and has only a handful of traffic lights and not too many major intersections.]

Dude: No.

Me: Do you know where Main Street is?

Dude: Is that the big street?

Me: Well, it is one of the busiest and widest streets in town . . . it’s the one that goes out to the Interstate Highway.

Dude: Oh, yeah! I know it!

Me: Do you know where the mercantile store is? It’s on Main Street at the big intersection with the traffic light.

Dude: Oh, yeah!

Me: Okay . . the mercantile store is at the corner of Main and Second Street. From the store, you head south two blocks until you cross the railroad tracks.

Dude: Which way is south?

Me: Um . . . towards the railroad tracks. When you are at that corner, just go towards the railroad tracks. Do you know where the railroad tracks are?

Dude: No.

Me: Um . . . the tracks only run along one side of the town. Do you spend much time in this town . . . the Colorado town, I mean?

Dude: Yes.

Me: But you don’t know where the railroad tracks are?

Dude: No.

Me: So . . . do you live here in Colorado?

Dude: No.

Me: But, you want to take piano lessons here?

Dude: Yes.

Me: Okay, well . . . anyway . . . you can see the tracks from the mercantile store. Just head towards the railroad tracks. When you get to the railroad tracks, I’m in the big building with green shutters right next to the railroad tracks.

Dude: Can you meet me at the mercantile store and walk with me to your studio?

Me: Oh . . you will be walking?

Dude: Yes. I don’t have a car.

Me: Um . . . well . . . um . . . my schedule doesn’t . . . I mean . . I have a lesson right before so I really can’t come to meet you. I’ll just meet you at the studio.

[Editorial note: That was an outright lie – my schedule would have allowed me to meet him.]

Dude: Can I call you when I get to the mercantile store and get directions?

Me: Well, sure . . . but all you have to do is walk towards the railroad tracks . . .

Dude: Okay! I’ll see you in the morning.

Me: Okay . . . bye.


I really am not sure what I just signed up for.

I’m not convinced that he and I are in the same town. I’m wondering if, in the morning, he will be wandering around some small town hundreds of miles from here trying to find where the railroad tracks cross Second Street.

I’m not convinced that he isn’t looking for a girlfriend or a wife or a green card or a one-morning stand. I’m glad there will be other people around the office . . . my gut says he is harmless, but that was one heck of a strange conversation.

At any rate, it has been raining heavily today and it is supposed to continue raining heavily tomorrow (very, very unusual for Colorado). I doubt he will actually walk through heavy rain to my studio. I’m betting he won’t even show up. Well, except . . . he is from Portland . . .

On the other hand, one of my friends here in town has more confidence in him.

She was raised as a migrant worker and her family roots are grounded in the Texas area from when Texas still belonged to Mexico. The everyday lifestyle of her immediate and extended family is authentically Mexican, including food, music, language, religion, etc.

I spoke to her about my conversation with this guy. She said that many Hispanic people are self-taught musicians and she is betting that is true for him. She says it sound like he is looking for some formal training to supplement what he already knows.

When I stated that it seemed strange he wanted me to meet him someplace and walk with him – that it sounded risky to me – she laughed. She said that is a request and an attitude typical of Hispanic people. She said it doesn’t sound strange at all to her.

She is betting that he will show up.


  1. That is kind of hilarious. I’ll be interested to read what happened!

    • It was sure puzzling! LOL

  2. Weird conversation.

    I’m certainly wondering if he showed.

    • It kept me wondering, LOL!

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