Saturday, April 13, 2013

the ice cream is not free...

I decided that I'm going to take a certain subject out from my internal list of things which I had initially deemed to be off-limits to blog about.  This subject is....

Dating.

I use the word "dating" loosely, simply because I'm never actively searching, and I'm so awkward when it comes to these things that I never actually can tell if people like me, and when they admit that they might, I usually can't comprehend it and/or don't believe it and start laughing inappropriately. 

I tend to get hollered at in the street by random strangers fairly frequently.  It gets old and it's unwelcome (perhaps I'm just not intimidating enough).  I will begin my quest into this new territory of my blog with an anecdote.

When I was home last weekend, a new low was reached.  It had nothing to do with anything I did, but it was a low nonetheless.

I was walking to the post office to drop off some invitations that I was responsible for hand addressing (I have pretty impeccable handwriting if I do say so myself).  I didn't feel comfortable just dropping them in the nearby mailbox at the risk of some brat from the nearby middle school deciding to use it as a trash receptacle as soon as I put the invitations in, so I took the opportunity to go on a walk on a lovely day.  I was dressed in long pants and a short-sleeved shirt.

Not far from my house, but right in front of the local elementary school, I found myself stuck behind a slow-walking ice cream peddler who will be referred to as "el paletero".  It was pretty warm outside, and he was pushing a cart full of ice cream, so I can understand why he would be walking as slowly as he was, but I couldn't bring myself to continue at that pace for another block, so I naturally decided to pass him.

I had noticed that he was on the phone, but suddenly, his speech seemed to be directed at me.
"Eres maestra? [are you a teacher?]" Initially, I thought that he was still talking to someone on the phone, but when he repeated himself more loudly, I looked behind me and saw that he was looking right at me.

I replied to him in Spanish that I was not a teacher and didn't work at the school. 

I tried to continue walking, and he continued to ask me questions.  He asked me if I lived in the area.  I said that I was from the area, but was only around a few days because I live in another state.  He asked how long I would be staying, and I said that I would only be around for 4 days.  He then offered me ice cream from his cart.  I politely declined, citing that I had just eaten a very large meal at Sizzler and was not interested.  He then switched languages and started talking to me in English (which was mildly offensive since there was nothing wrong with my Spanish) and informed me that the ice cream would be free.  I was also so full from lunch that no amount of free ice cream could entice me to eat again until dinner.  Naturally, I declined again.

To my shock and dismay, el paletero then asked me if I would like to get dinner with him that Sunday night.

WAIT. WHAT?  Had I heard that right?

On the fly, I told him I was busy, made up a fake companion and declined.  I used this chance to break away from the conversation.  I continued on my way to the post office and he turned the corner and continued walking in the opposite direction.

As I walked away, I started laughing in disbelief.  I had just gotten propositioned for a date by el paletero/the ice cream peddler on a street corner, no less.  THIS HAD JUST HAPPENED.

My childhood image of wholesome paleteros who used to give me extra ice cream and 50 cent fruit popsicles had been dismantled instantly.  What would have happened if I'd thoughtlessly accepted the "free" ice cream?  Would he have expected me to accept his request for a date?  That ice cream was not free - it was a loaded offer.

I continued my errands and returned home a few hours later.  When I got home, as soon as I walked in the door, my grandma offered me some ice cream.  I then told her what had happened just a few hours before - we both started laughing and she promised me that the ice cream she had just offered me really was free.

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