Thursday, January 14, 2010
One of Us is Confused
Something definitely out of the ordinary went down on the bus a few days ago. DR and I caught the same bus back to the UC from downtown. At the court house, a group of teenage girls boarded the bus. They took seats two rows behind Dan and I and immediately set to chatting. Loudly. In a different language. I didn't understand a single word. Not one. As a bit of background, I spent twenty two months in Argentina. I studied the language every single day, blowing through the standard study guides in a matter of weeks. So I purchased grammar books in the native language and made it a point to learn at least five new words a day. This will come as no surprise to those of you who know me - you know I tend to be borderline OCD and definitely take things to the extreme. So, since I couldn't understand a word of what the teenage girls behind me were shouting about, I assumed it wasn't Spanish. I can usually follow the gist of a conversation in Portuguese or Italian. Nothing. French? Too guttural. After the girls got off the bus, I asked Dan if he could tell what they were speaking. It wasn't Italian, Dan speaks Italian and he couldn't understand a word of it either. As we were discussing what it might have been, the young woman in front of Dan interrupted - "It was clearly Spanish. Not Mexican, but South American - definitely Argentina or Chile." "I'm not so sure about that," I answered, "I learned Spanish in Argentin -" "I have family from Argentina," she interrupted. "They were definitely Argentine." Stunned, I sat and puzzled over what just happened. Was she Argentine? Why didn't she say she was from Argentina or Argentine, or that she knows the language? Why that she has family from there? She made her statements so forcefully. As DR and I got off the bus, it was clear to me that one two things had happened. Either I completely forgot how to speak Spanish over the span of thirty minutes, or that girl was full of shit. Que se yo?