Today a kid on the subway started talking to Tariku in Chinese as I was struggling to give his mom some directions. Tariku gave me the, “What the heck?” look, and I explained to him that the boy was speaking a different language. Tariku processed this and then turned to him and started speaking his best Chinese. And the kid ANSWERED him. And the next thing I knew they were chatting. I swear a casual observer would have thought that Tariku was busting out some Cantonese right there on the R train. I don’t think they solved the climate crisis, but they definitely each made a friend for the duration of the ride.
It seemed particularly ironic that I couldn’t even communicate to his mother that she should ask directions at the ticket booth.
It made me wonder how many things we could do if we didn’t know we couldn’t do them.