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5/2/09 My mini conversation

This afternoon, I was out running various errands when I crossed paths with the tranzit driver I'm hoping will take me into SouqTown tomorrow. I hadn't expected to see him, but was delighted, because it gave me a chance to verify the departure time of his tranzit. Sometimes the earliest run goes out at 3, sometimes 3:30, sometimes 4am. I'll be helping out with an English language club hosted at the Dar Chebab (youth center) there, and it starts mid-morning, so my only choice is to leave at dawn.

After running through the standard greeting phrases, I started to ask him when his tranzit would leave.

"Eska sbaH--" Tomorrow morning--

He cut me off. "L-arba." Four.

I laughed out loud. I suppose my question was pretty obvious, but I still hadn't expected him to answer quite so quickly. To be sure I wouldn't be left waiting at the crack of dawn for nothing, though, I clarified: "G l-arba, eska sbaH, at-tdut s SouqTown?" 4 o'clock tomorrow morning, you're going to Souqtown?

He nodded, grinning.

"Arba nishan?"
4 o'clock straight up?

"Eh, nishan."
Yup, on the dot. "Trit at-tdut?" Do you want to come?

I nodded and returned his grin.

"Waxa, ar sbaH, inshallah."
OK, see you in the morning, God willing.

"Ar sbaH."
Till morning.

I'm not sure why this exchange amused me so much, but for some reason, it makes me smile. Something about my own predictability and the driver's willingness to be helpful in the face of his assumption that I wouldn't be able to get out more than a few words.

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