Monday, May 01, 2006

Sign Language

Today I had to pick up a prescription so I was looking for a spot in the parking lot at the Centre Mall. It was pretty busy for a Monday, I was on the third lane from where I wanted to be before I saw an open spot. A few cars ahead on the passenger side, there were actually two spots side by side. Since the closest spot had a big truck next to it, I decided to skip that one and park in the far one. I didn't really swing out when I made my turn. I just started turning as soon as I cleared the truck... and to my surprise I saw a woman standing there. I stopped, and I expected her to just hurry on out of the way, but she didn't. She just stood there, looking confused. The car behind me was obviously hoping to do some syncronised parking with me, because he too was halfway into his own park job intending to pull into the spot I passed over. He couldn't finish though because I was in his way, and I couldn't move at all because the woman was in my way.

She did a quarter-turn so her body didn't face me anymore, but we still made eye contact as she swept her gaze across the lot in a wide arc. She did a slow deliberate sweep as she scrunitized every car, then she'd quickly move her head back to the start position and start over again. She reminded me of a sprinkler. When she was looking in my direction I gave her a big exaggerated shrug. I meant it to mean "OMG WTF?" but I think she took it to mean, "My dear lady, what seems to be the trouble?" because she didn't move. Instead she sighed, held up her keys, (on an impressively long and complicated keychain - I think it had feathers on it), and shook them. With her other arm she did a part shrug, part gesture at the ground and part sweeping motion across the lot. I think she was trying to tell me her car was parked in that spot, but now it was nowhere to be seen.

I can understand her dismay, but even if it was parked there before - it wasn't there now! It was as if she was waiting for it to return. I almost expected her to invent a complicated sign indicating that her car just stepped out for a minute and was coming right back. Instead she just gave me a shrug along with a defeated look that meant "what can you do?"

Well, I was pretty sure I knew what she could do. I pointed at her in a repetitive short stabbing motion until I was sure she knew I was pointing at her, and then I waved my hand off to the side ina motion like I was brushing crumbs off my dashboard. This time my meaning should be crystal clear: "You. Move!" Well as it turns out, one of us, I am not sure who, is terrible with impromptu sign language because this was the second time in one minute that she had totally misunderstood my meaning. She didn't move, she actually just looked happily over in the direction I was motioning in as if she thought I was telling her where her car is. Her expression was clearly relief mixed with a bit of "oh silly me". It was like she was saying "...well I already looked over there and didn't even see it." I guess she not only thought I knew what car she was driving, but that I also remembered where she left it.

I just started to roll down my window so I could ask her to move and then I heard a honk coming from behind me. I turned around just in time to see the guy behind me poke his head all the way out his driver window and yell "get the f*** out of the way". Then he punctuated his words with a gesture nobody could misinterpret.


Anonymous said...

LMAO!! Well, at least there was no room for misinterpretation with that one.

Anonymous said...
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Sarah J M said...

Well, I don't know if she was a ditz. It did seem like someone may have stolen her car, which would have anyone in a bit of a state.

Glen said...

Sometimes you have to use plain english to get your point across. ;)

Oh and hi to you Sarah <3

Anonymous said...

LOL. So funny!