Apparently I look Hispanic. While normally this could turn into an excellent opportunity to mess with people, the joke is on me, because my faux-spanic looks usually backfire.
For instance, these cute little old ladies go around our neighborhood, inviting people to church. I’d seen them around but hadn’t ever spoken to them. One day, they knocked on our door! Even though I like the church I attend, I always enjoy talking to other people about different churches, so I was excited. I opened the door, and they start speaking to me in Spanish. They got about two sentences in before the confused look on my face clued them into the fact that I had no idea what was going on. One of them asked, “Do you speak Spanish?” I said, no, sorry, and they both straightened up and looked around uncomfortably. “Oh,” she said. “We’re only inviting people who speak Spanish. Sorry!” And with that, they turned around and walked away.
Okay, I get it – they were starting a Hispanic church and if you didn’t speak Spanish, you might not get as much out of attending. But they were literally holding a Bible in their hands and didn’t once bring up Jesus. I mean, I already know Jesus, but did she know that? Nope…I felt a little cheated.
Another time, I was working retail at the mall. A man came up to me and asked if I spoke Spanish. I said no, but our manager did, and did he want me to find her? He then looks at me carefully for a very long time, and says that he’s not sure if he should report me, since it’s clear I speak Spanish and am lying about it.
So now I am put in the very awkward position of trying to prove that I am in fact as white as it gets (if only he could have seen me dance to “Total Eclipse of the Heart” – then he would have known for sure), except the customer is always right, but in this case I really, sincerely cannot help him. I managed to convince him I don’t speak any Spanish, and he seemed to accept this. But then he kept popping up around the store, as if he was going to catch me talking to myself in Spanish or talking to a customer about the silly man I tricked earlier. He eventually left me alone, probably off to stalk some poor other girl who only spoke one language.
The last instance that comes to mind is a job I used to have with a boss who, shall we say, wasn’t the sharpest tack in the drawer. She had asked me previously if I spoke any Spanish, and I was sure to tell her no, no, no, no, nooooo. So fast-forward a year when I am still working for her. She sends me an email asking me to take a call from a client later, because I have the “right skills” to interact with him. You can all see where this is going. The client only spoke Spanish. And if communicating with someone in person while speaking different languages is hard, the phone is really hard. Downright impossible, in fact. So I had to sit there on the phone and try to communicate, while the poor customer is probably starting to wonder if we’re recording this conversation for a game show, until finally I remember my friend J works with me and speaks Spanish! Yay! I emailed her and she came to my rescue, and while I’m sure the client thought we were nuts, he still liked our company anyway.
So, if any of you are interested in speaking to me in Spanish, let me make it clear: If you do not want to discuss:
~your favorite color;
~how tall you are;
~how your mom is;
~where you are from;
~how nice it is to meet me;
~ or what color your hair is…
I can’t help you. However, if you do wish to discuss any of these things, call me! Please be advised that this phone call will take approximately thirty seconds. Hasta luego!