High-Tech Spanish

Yeah, you’ll never guess what I want.

I’m pretty much fluent in Spanish.

Of course, some might differ, but they can abrir las orejas or go jump in a lago. The rest get it and don’t mind a few mistakes or my accent, which is kind of good but not native for Argentina, especially with the use of slang, the double r, the number three and the placement of che and boludo. I’ll leave the latter to the porteños.

Then there are those that marvel at my skills to convey a message, and hands down that recognition goes to the guy at the hardware store. He watches my arm and hand movements and pieces together my indications to produce just what I wanted: a galvanized fence staple or a plastic tie thingy or something to hang up a swing from the ceiling without it falling down kid and all. Come to think of it, I don’t know half of what hardware supplies are called in English.

Then I had an idea.

I had to buy a fastener of sorts to replace a broken fastener of sorts to shut the door window. So instead of going through with my circus act so the hardware guy could magic up what I needed, I snapped a photo of the old thingy and took it in.

The hardware guy looked at the screen of my cell phone and said, “Ah, yeah.”

A minute later and presto, there was the fastener thingy on the counter before me.

“Anything else?” he asked.

“Nah, that’s it,” I said.

“You sure?” he asked.

“Yeah, I’m sure.”

“Oh well,” he said.

Then as he bagged up my fastener thingy he hesitated and said, “You know. I like it when you come in here and explain what your need with your hands and all your descriptions. It brightens my day.”

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