Saturday, September 11, 2010
Do you have a country coin?
On my last visit I was first charmed and then eventually supremely annoyed by the multitude of school children who would chase you down the street asking if you have any "country coins" because they need them for a project at school. The first few times it was sweet and I was purposefully carrying some pennies and nickels around so that I could add to their collections. Then once the same kids started asking every day, even when you already told them you had run out, it started getting irritating. When they took to hovering at the coconut stand to pounce on you during coconut happy hour or chasing you down the street on their bicycles asking if they could go to your house so you can check again in your bags for country coins I started wanting to ask them for their country coins just to see how they liked it. This first week in India was country coin request-free until yesterday, when two of the little twerps, who I remember distinctly as being particularly aggressive collectors, tracked me down a few blocks from home. They went through the same routine, saying they had a project for school, but I have to say, there were two things that have evolved in the quest for the country coin. As an English teacher, I was glad to hear that their English had improved significantly, and I wish I would have told them so when I was talking to them, but it didn't register until I had digested the conversation. The other change: these boys were relatively polite. The still asked to come to my house to see if I had any coins there, but when I told them that was an inappropriate request to make they apologized and said, "OK Mam, sorry for the disturbance, and we hope you enjoy the rest of your day." This all finished up of course with a lot of head wobbling (what does this head wobble mean???), from me and from them. I can only hope that all the country coin collectors have changed their ways.