We stepped into a café in Old San Juan after walking around the city all morning, which was hot and humid and blistering. We ordered a blended coffee drink and sat there discussing this and that while waiting to be served. The partner then noticed that one of the baristas at that café had a tattoo on her arm. He looked at it intently and let me know that it was the date April 1, 2011 in roman numerals.
What do you think it signifies? he asked
Probably her wedding day or perhaps the day her kid was born. Some major life event like that, I suppose.
But she looks so young, he pointed out.
Which she did. She was a petite woman and appeared, to us, to be in her teens.
Let’s just ask her.
So, when it came time to leave, we went to the billing counter and this barista happened to be there. The partner pointed to her tattoo and asked her what it meant.
It’s April 1, 2011, she said.
Oh yes, that I figured, but what does that signify? he asked.
Since English wasn’t one of her strongest points, she drew a blank. And since Spanish isn’t a language we can speak, there was an awkward silence for a moment until the partner found a way to keep the conversation going.
What is it, that date? Is it your birth date? he asked.
And both the barista and I stared at him for a few seconds before breaking into laughter. She looked young, yes, but nowhere close to being called a two and half year old.
Oh no, not my birth date, it’s my son’s, she said, still chuckling.
Later the partner had this to say in his defense since I kept giggling every now and then recalling the conversation
I knew it wasn’t her birth date, but at that moment I didn’t know how else to put forth that question to her, what with her poor English and our non-existent Spanish speaking skills.
Of course I realized that. But that doesn’t take the amusement factor away, does it?