Monday, June 02, 2008

You Gotta Represent.

I spent the weekend in Sunset Park helping some friends with their stoop sale. It’s the New York equivalent of a yard sale but unfortunately, yards are something of an anomaly here in the city (that’s why we have parks) so you just put all your shit on your stoop and hope for the best. Now I never venture out to Brooklyn and what little knowledge I know of Sunset Park came from this little gem of a movie. Needless to say, Rhea Perlman and Carol Kane were no shows to the bargain fest where everything was priced to move for only 25 cents an item.

But who did show up, was this crazy little Latino grandma who had a million questions. Since I spent one glorious summer as a foreign exchange student in Mexico I by default was deemed by my peers as the official translator of the stoop. My translating went like this…

Me: "Como say di say ‘quarter’?” Cinquenta?

Stranger on the street trying to help me help the Abuela who’s looking through the junk at the stoop sale: “No that’s fifty”.

Friends having the stoop sale: “I thought you could speak Spanish?”

Me (to friends having stoop sale): “No. You said I could speak Spanish. I’m here for the Bloody Mary’s. Why am I the one selling your shit?”

Friend having the stoop sale: "What do you think is paying for the Bloody Mary’s?"

Abuela trying to buy shit: “No entiendes.”

Me: “Me either- Lo siento. Take everything and give me a quarter.”

Done. Or so I thought.

It turned out that the abuela didn’t leave. She was crazy town. Every time somebody would come by the stoop to look at something she would take it out of their hands and claim it was hers. I have never seen anything like it. We kept giving each other the ‘what do we do” face, because none of us knew how to handle the situation. The final straw was when an Asian woman who was looking at a puzzle priced at (you guessed it - a quarter!) became shell-shocked when the sweet little crazy ass abuela who we thought was “no habla ingles” turns to her and says “Hey China, go away, this mine.” The stoop sale was about to go down in flames. So my friend says to me, “Hey ‘Said’, go tell that lady she can’t call Asian people Chinese!”
“What? Fine. This is ridiculous.” I said, “But then what?”
“Then tell her to leave if she’s going to say racist shit and steal from the customers.”
“But I can’t speak that much Spanish’ I said.
“Do it.” They said, and proceeded to withhold my bloody mary until they saw results.
So I approached the abuela and said very quietly to her, “That puzzle costs three dollars.”

That’s all it took. She looked at me cross eyed and slung the trash bag of clothing she had swiped from other customers over her shoulder and walked off. I went back to the stoop and my friends were staring at me. “What did you say to her?” they asked. “Nothing. Just what you told me to say,” I responded casually as I poured my self a fresh bloody mary from the pitcher. But the truth was far more nefarious, because if there are two things I know about crazy people it’s this: Don’t mess with the prices at a stoop sale, and don’t withhold a bloody mary from a woman with a bitch of a hangover.

You Gotta Represent.


Blogger Bill From Gainesville said...

So from June of 07 to May of 08 you just took a break--- then Bam just throw up a post or five that are all funny, cool and insightful -- you are like a prisoner of war that gets broken out, flown back to America and then the first thing you do is get on a bicycle and just start smoothly riding all while doing wheelies and stuff, Bravo.

7:00 PM  
Blogger "said" Woman said...

I'd like to say it has something to do with my University of Miami education, but I'm afraid it would make a Gator like you mad...

7:15 PM  
Blogger Sister Mary Lisa said...

This post is hilarious. I can just picture that crazy lady. Nice.

5:00 PM  

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