Sometimes I run into a stumbling block. It happened last night.
I was down below a dam checking fishermen when I come across two men who were fishing with a small stick with line wrapped around it. As soon as they saw me, one of the men tried to hide his stick under a rock. Too late- I saw it.
When I show the second man the same sentence he furiously waves his hand around in the air like he is saying "Bye Bye", leaving me a bit confused as to whether he means, 'No, I don't have a license" or
'Man this place reeks of dead fish'.
So I turn back to the first guy and ask (in a loud voice, because it is hard not to do, even though I know he isn't deaf), "License?" I make a motion with my hands indicated that I need to see it with my eyes. I point to my eyes then point to the sentence asking about a fishing license. The man again shakes his head madly and starts saying, "Highway! Highway!" while he is pointing up in the sky. Huh?
"Your license is at the highway?"
"Highway! Yes! Highway!"
I point in the direction of the nearest highway and say questioningly, "Highway? Highway 6?"
Suddenly he starts making a shape in the air of a box and pokes his fingers into the box, "Highway!"
I point towards his bike and begin the pedal mime. I'm standing on the edge of the river running in place with my hands on imaginary handlebars, pumping away and saying very loudly, "Go to highway? Ride your bike to highway? License at highway?"
The Chinese man begins laughing at me.
I turn back to the other man and he merely begins his wild goodbye wave.
So, I take my fishing license from my pocket and pretend like I am handing it to an imaginary game warden. Then I switch places and become the imaginary game warden. I take the license from the imaginary me and look at the license admiringly, then give the imaginary me a giant thumbs up, in a desperate attempt to show that they need to show the game warden the fishing license.
The man laughs more. Apparently I'm putting on quite a show. More fisherman are beginning to watch my little one woman act.
Finally I pull out my pad of paper so I can attempt to get the man's name. I give him the paper and a pen, then pull out my flashcards. I find the one that says, "Please write your name."
The man smiles grandly, happy that he can finally do something that I'm asking him to do. He grabs the paper and scratches out what appears to be about 15 Chinese characters. I'm fairly certain that the Clerk of Court won't accept a citation written in chinese characters, so I begin belting out the abc's song. The men look at eachother and begin clapping along.
I give up.
I wave my hands back and forth, meaning "NO", then I pretend to reel in a fish, meaning "FISHING". NO MORE FISHING UNTIL YOU SHOW ME A LICENSE!
"Highway! Tomorrow!" He points to the river, "Tomorrow!"
"No," I say, shaking my head, "No more fishing!"
The men laugh and begin clapping some more. "Sank you, Sank you!" they say happily.
Just as I turn to walk in shame back to my truck, the men pick up their sticks and throw the line back into the water.
Mission accomplished. Or not.