Jerryism #8: Am I Just Dense?

San Geraldo and I Skyped with our friend Judy in Seattle the other day. San Geraldo was telling us about going to the supermarket at El Corte Inglés that morning without his Spanish/English dictionary. He needed to buy toothpicks, couldn’t find them, and didn’t know the word in Spanish. He stopped one staff-person and began by miming picking his teeth. She ignored the rest of his hand movements that he thought described a stick and she immediately took him over to toothpaste. When he tried to explain more clearly, she simply shook her head and made no effort to try and follow along in his peculiar game of charades. So, he moved on to someone else. He pulled a package of skewered shrimps from his cart and showed her the sticks. He then said in Spanish that he needed “much smaller” ones (yes, San Geraldo’s Spanish has advanced that far). She laughingly led him directly to the toothpicks. As San Geraldo described it to us, the first woman he approached for assistance never would have gotten it. He said she appeared to be “as dense as a lava rock.” 


San Geraldo continued prattling on while Judy and I stared at each other with heads tilted and perplexed looks on our faces.
“Aren’t lava rocks very porous? They’re not at all dense, are they?” we asked almost in unison.
San Geraldo paused and thought about it. “Hmmm, I guess so,” he said. “Oh, you both know what I meant!”
I think San Geraldo was perhaps aiming for “as dumb as a rock” or “as dumb as a box of rocks.” But then maybe I’m just being dense.


Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

34 thoughts on “Jerryism #8: Am I Just Dense?”

  1. I asked Bill that if I told him I wanted "muy pecuno palos" what would I be wanting… I think he thought I was denser than a box of rocks! What I really want are those shrimps! Do you buy them that way? They look delicious!

  2. The Odd Essay:
    You and Jerry would get along great. I THINK it should be "palos muy pequeños." That photo is of the shrink-wrapped package of shrimps before Jerry opened it for our lunch salad today. The shrimp ARE delicious.

    1. Stephen:
      Well, I doubt he remembers the word for floss. But if he DID ask for floss, still she gave him toothpaste. Anyway, it's so much more fun sometimes to pretend I don't know what he means.

  3. Well, poor Jerry :))– so misunderstood! 😉 What I'm impressed by is how creative he was in figuring out a way to explain the toothpicks by comparing them to the shrimp skewers. Great job, Jerry!

  4. Well, actually, there are many kinds of rock formed from lava and it's not all as porous as pumice or tuffa. (Forgive my mentioning this!) I've been in a church built of basalt in Hungary near Lake Balaton. If the woman was like those blocks of rock, she'd be pretty dense.

  5. Yes, Kristi beat me to it, but most forms of basalt are very dense, one of the denser of rocks in fact. Have you ever visited Devil's Postpile National Monument in California? Very dense basalt formation!

  6. I winced a little reading this. I've been through that myself, needing the help of someone working in a store or bank or someplace, having to stand there and endure their impatience, and then watch them just walk away. Good for Jerry that he wasn't very phased and found someone else that would help him.

    That shrimp really does look good. My boyfriend Chris has been barbecuing shrimp on cedar planks. It adds such a great flavor.

    1. Victor:
      I'll have to write about my experience some years back with neurological Lyme Disease. Similar experience as, although mine was only a few weeks in duration. Very eye-opening. Jerry's attempts at communicating here are usually simply entertaining. Chris's barbecued shrimp sounds mouth-watering. As you learn as you read my blog, I don't cook but I'm really good at clean-up!

  7. Isn't toothpick "palillo"? or something like that. Today, Antonio and I were looking at sheets at El Corte Inglés and all of a sudden a worker comes up and snatches one of the sets out of Antonio's hands without any explanations. We had to ask why he took it and he explained that it was in the wrong sales bin. The guy walks away and I go on and on for 2 minutes saying how rude he is and what a horrible worker he is… Apparently he heard (oops!) bec. when we went to the bedding section he was on our heels the entire time. Oh El Corte Inglés…

    1. Brittany:
      Well, I don't know anyone who has a lot of good to say in general about the staff at El Corte Inglés. We have had some very nice service at times, but it doesn't appear to be the norm. So, I'd chalk that up to individual personalities and not good management. A salesman actually rolled his eyes when I asked him for help in the shoe dept. He had been having a personal chat with a co-worker for 15 minutes while I patiently stood and waited. I finally interrupted to ask for help and saw the eyes roll at the woman he'd been chatting with. She did the same and turned her back on me! Enough of that!

      I don't know which is the more correct to use for toothpick — mondadiente or palillo. If you find that out, please let me know!

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