Saturday, June 26, 2010

A visit to Home Depot

This evening I went along with D and the family to Home Depot. I am living with them for the summer as what I can best describe as an Au pair. His wife, K is an exuberant lady and they have the two most adorable kids- a 4 year old girl T and a 11 month old baby N. This evening we decided to go to Home Depot since D felt that we needed more fans in the house, thanks to the rising Atlanta heat. As usual I decided to be the entertainment for the kids, while the parents set out to get what they had come for. We got the two kids in to a race-car cart and I wheeled them along the aisles, trying to answer all of T's questions which invariably would begin with WHY?, while N amused himself with the steering wheel. I still am getting used to pushing carts with kids in them, so it wasn't a surprise that I managed to run right in to stack of blinds. I fervently hoped that nobody had seen my clumsiness, but unfortunately, an elderly gentleman had witnessed it all. He came over and helped me and said jokingly that if this is the way I drove, I would never get a licence. I was kinda surprised that he knew that I didn't have a licence here. I wondered if I looked like someone who just landed in America......didn't bode too well. So I just gave him a polite smile and rushed to find K and leave the site of my accident. I found her in an aisle looking for screens for the bathroom. I decided to stay close to her...I had lost faith in my cart pushing abilities. Just as I was recovering from my embarrassment, the elderly gentleman(who, I now realised, worked in Home Depot) came towards us with two little Home Depot aprons. T was suddenly very coy and accepted the aprons after a little coaxing from him and N just snatched it out of his hand and put it right in his mouth. The gentleman, whom we shall call G, looked at me and said," Well I don't have one for you....but then you are grown up now, aren't you?"  Once again all I did was smile, since I didn't know how to respond. He continued "You know, you need to get your driving improved if you want to get a licence...wait do you have a licence?"
"No...not in this country."
"You have it in India?"
"How old are you?"
"Err....old enough to have a licence."
"No seriously, how old are you?"
"I am 25"
At this point T shouts out,"And I am 26"
G looks at me startled" You are joking don't look like 25"
"I am 25. "
"I feel like such an idiot talking to you like you were a look like a you get that a lot?"
"Sometimes...not a lot though "
"So what do you want to be when you grow up?", he joked
"Jokes aside, what do you do...wait let me are Indian, so you must be a software engineer"
I cringed. He was going for the Indian stereotype and I fit half the description.
"I am an engineer, but not software."
"So what kind of engineer are you?"
"I am an electrical engineer specialising in cardiovascular engineering."
He stared at me blankly.
"What do you do with that?"
"Well I will probably get in to a company that makes pacemakers and stuff"
"Oh so you are in you are going to be a doctor?"
"No. I am an engineer that will work with doctors."
" I knew it.....Indians are either software engineers or doctors. So is your dad a doctor?
I wanted to explain I wasn't a doctor, but I knew it was a lost cause so I just answered his question.
"No. He isn't"
" Then why did you want to become a doctor?"
I just smiled.
" So do you go to school here?"
" No. I go to school in Fargo, North Dakota."
" Woah! Fargo? Who would you wanna go there? Have you seen the movie? I thought it was such a scary place after watching it. But are there any Indians in Fargo?"
"Sure. A few hundred Indians"
"But why would you go to Fargo? You should go to a place like New York.I am from New York. Beautiful city! Girl like you should live there."
Even this man felt I was made for New York. If only God agreed.
 By this time D, alarmed by the sight of me, unchaperoned with an elderly gentleman, came running to us with K in tow. 
G was even more excited to meet them.
"I thought your niece was a teenager......I can't believe she lives in Fargo....."
He started to pick a conversation with D, while K, as any good Indian chaperone steered me out of that aisle and took me away to safety looking apologetic for having exposed me to a conversation with a stranger.