in a conversation about accents

Mom: You know we’re good friends with the dry cleaners, I mean, we’ve been going there for years and we know the father very well.

Me: The father?

Mom: Yes, the father ran the dry cleaners for a long time and now his son, Anthony, does.

Me: And they’re Latino? [ed. we were at a Mexican restaurant and I had to keep translating what the waiter was saying…even though he was speaking English]

Mom: What?

Me: Latino?

Mom: No, they’re Asian. Anyway, I think what they do is that they get each other jobs because when you come to this country you have to have a job to stay. And then they stay for a little bit and then move on somewhere. At least I think that’s what happens, there’s some people I just never see again…

Me: Helping out their people.

Mom: Right. Anyway, some of these people I can’t understand. at. all. I usually just stand there and smile while I try and decode what my choices are [makes motions with hands like machinery in motion]. Or sometimes I just can’t figure it out and start laughing. Don’t I Jerry? [turns to Dad]

Dad: huh?

Me: So what do you do?

Mom: Usually I just smile for a little while and then just say ‘yes’ [laughing]

Me: [laughing] Well how bad could it be, right? It’s laundry.

Mom: [still laughing] Right! [Turns to Dad] That’s why sometimes your shirts have starch in them!

Me: [uproarious laughter]

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