Thanks a lot

The day before we left Mazatlan, I was running early in the morning. At one point a small car that was going quite fast came near me and stopped. A little boy five or six years old got out and asked me for directions in Spanish. He said three lines of Spanish, and I could not understand anything. I had been running fast, doing speed work, and I was exhausted. I don't know Spanish, and I was so tired that I couldn't talk. I was helpless.

When the boy saw that I didn't understand him and also that I was too tired to talk, he said very soulfully "Thanks a lot." There was no sarcasm involved. Then he ran back and entered into his father's car.

Another day while I was running in Mazatlan very early in the morning, I saw an American running. This man I had previously seen playing tennis. He was bearded and not very nice-looking. He asked me the time. So I said, "Five fifty-six."

Then he said, "Damn you! Why can't you say 'four minutes of six'!"

I never use the expression "thanks a lot," but I told him, "Thanks a lot," and continued running.