Thursday, November 18, 2004

Night class

The supermarket on a week day is not crowded. It is past 9 PM and I find no sign of the activities that usually greet me when I shop here after work around 6 or 7 PM. Shoppers here and there except for a group of people taking notes and looking at price tags. Hispanics for the most part, in their twenties and thirties. None of them is pushing a cart nor carrying a basket. They're not shopping. They're writing down stuff. I'm intrigued.
Near the fruit and vegetable section I notice one guy from the group. He is alone now and still writing seriously after looking at the tags for tomatoes. I try to ask him a question but my Spanish is limited and I get nowhere except for a "no English" spoken softly with a smile. My mom is nearby and I call her quickly. "Maman, come help me please". Spanish is her mother tongue. French was her English and France her America.
She starts talking to the man and turns to me after a while: "It's a class. They're learning English and this is an exercise. They have to write down a list of produce. " I'm still puzzled but my mother is now talking with the man, she is laughing and nodding in approval. I understand part of the conversation, not enough to join, even in English. She wishes him good luck and congratulates him on his dedication to be in class so late at night.
We soon leave him with another sets of good wishes making our way through the aisles of this expensive supermarket transformed for one evening in a giant classroom.


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