by Samuel Priest
Okay, okay, I think I see where the misunderstanding has been. See, I’ve been referring to the food in front of me as “Three Gyros” and you’ve been nodding as if to say yes, that’s what they are and that you want them. But when you ask me how much they are to purchase, you think I’m just repeating “Three Gyros” G-Y-R-O-S when in actuality I’ve been saying “Three Euros.” E-U-R-O-S. These three gyros are three euros.
Boy, now that I spell it out like that, I feel silly at how much time we wasted not understanding each other.
I mean, when you first walked in I thought, “Oh, this man does not look like he is from around here, maybe there will be a slight humorous misunderstanding,” but I did not think in my wildest dreams it would escalate as much as it has.
Now I know, that when I pointed at each Gyro and said loudly and slowly Euro, Euro, Euro… you just heard me saying Gyro, Gyro, Gyro and thought I was identifying Gyros! At that point, maybe I should have taken a step back and asked myself how that simple bit of communication could be misconstrued. Instead I called my wife in, and she essentially said the same things I said to you, but in a louder voice and while carrying that rolling pin. I’m not even sure why she had that thing, to be honest with you.
So when my wife pointed at the three gyros I had laid on the counter top and then angrily pointed in your face and said “three euros,” I now know that essentially you were just hearing and observing two people identifying gyros as gyros. Perhaps I should not have grabbed that European megaphone from behind the counter and shouted “these Three Gyros are Three Euros!” into it and your face, because you just heard “these Three Gyros are Three Gyros.” At this point, I know that volume was not the issue, and I am sorry we wasted so much time thinking that it was.
Let me back up and say that although we do not seem to have much in common, you and I are probably more alike than you know! Look past my comically over sized thick black mustache and my brightly colored apron with flour specks. Don’t get distracted by all the various trinkets, however shiny, that are arranged all over this counter top and along the windowsills. Please ignore the various cat clocks I have on the wall behind me, with their moving tails and clock and cat faces looking at you. Look at my eyes. I am a father too.
You’re on vacation, yes? With your wife and kids? I assume things have not been going that well and maybe you’ve had some other humorous misunderstandings, maybe some culture clash scenarios, possibly just the regular stresses of traveling that we can all relate to, but you know, blown up a bit, yes?
Years ago, I was traveling in your American Mid-West and stopped at a local tourist shop in South Dakota’s grand outdoor strip mall. Trying to be polite and fit in with your customs, I asked if they had any American corn, or as I simply put it, “maize.” This bored young man reached behind his desk and pulled out what appeared to be a young person’s coloring book and asked me for four dollars. Just so we’re clear, the first time I said “maize” it was spelled M-A-I-Z-E and what he was trying to sell me was a M-A-Z-E maze inside this coloring book. We argued for eighteen minutes.
I am you and you are me.
We’re just two men trying to do the best we can amongst our surroundings. I realize you feel very frustrated currently, as we’ve been arguing for some time, and these Three Gyros are now cold. And sure, right now your hat is now broken after you punched through it in frustration, and you’re sopping wet after being sprayed with that bottle of seltzer water we keep on hand when you wouldn’t stop screaming “Three Gyros, Three Gyros!” over and over. I understand why you do not find this situation funny. But in time, maybe you will.
Anyway, I digress, that will be Three Euros, please.