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Never Assume

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RSteve

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I stopped at a small shop today where the cashier was wearing a name badge with an obvious Hispanic name. The customer directly before me began to talk to her in Spanish to which she replied, "I'm Minnesota born with Mexican parents, but I don't know Spanish." The guy just shook his head and remarked in accented English that he was disappointed and surprised.

It brought to mind a situation that occurred shortly before I was married to my first wife. We were traveling in the Southwest; at the time this happened in Taos, New Mexico. The girlfriend had studied Spanish four years in high school and had lived in Mexico City during each summer following her 10th, 11th, and 12th grades. In college, she minored in Spanish. Her parents were of German and Norwegian descent, not a speck of Spanish heritage. The GF was extremely beautiful and had been on billboards around St. Paul-Minneapolis extolling the virtues of Sealy Posturepedic mattresses. She was about 5'5" maybe 125 lbs, very blonde and nicely proportioned.

In Taos, we got dressed up and went to a fine dining Mexican themed restaurant. After we were seated, a young female server along with what appeared to be her assistant or busboy came to the table. In English, the young woman warmly greeted us and went over recommended items on the menu. As we selected menu items, she feigned relating them in Spanish to the assistant, who wrote them down. After the two left our table, my girlfriend said that the couple taking our orders were totally screwing around. What the waitress said in Spanish to the young man had nothing to do with our order.

The meal and service were great. Our server and her assistant brought the check and asked if we enjoyed the meal. My girlfriend responded in perfect Spanish, "My tits are real. We do have sex like minks and you should be ashamed at your poor command of Spanish." The waitress immediately turned and ran to the kitchen. The young man who accompanied her begged me not to report their actions to management. "We're students, just getting by. Please...please, if we get fired we may have to drop out of school." I ranted a bit at both of their stupidity. "Never assume that people know or don't know a particular language.
 

ftrplt

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Ya' know what happens when ya' assume something?? It makes a "Ass" out of "U" and "Me." Old saying I heard years ago!! I know a little Spanish. For the life of me, I can't remember the Spanish word for "Tits!" 🤬🤬🤬 FTRPLT
 

Ranger107

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Similar situation. Studied French in HS 4 years. Was fairly fluent, not perfect on the various dialects, but good enough to get through most situations. Ex wife and I were in Paris. Had lunch at a sidewalk bistro on the champs de elyeesay. Two waiters were standing behind us chatting in French making lascivious comments about my wife, who was very good looking. Like a scene from the chevy chase movie european vacation. Didn't say a word until I asked for the check in perfect French. I could see the startled look on both their faces, lol. The waiter started apologizing very profusely trying to excuse his behavior. I just told him not to sweat it but said we will not be back and I will let the manager know about your comments. He followed us out still apologizing and begging me not to "tell on him". Very funny at the time.
 

Corncobcon

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I don't know how many times when people hear my first name, they assume I am German, and then proceed to ask if I am! Dumb asses.
The same with my last name. "Oh, is it French?" No you dumb asses, if you have to know, it is Hungarian. Then they try to make some lame
excuse.
 

RSteve

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I have an aunt through marriage who is one year younger than me. She was married to my late wife's uncle. The uncle was 18 years older than his wife and died almost 20 years ago. The "aunt" and I joke about my being her nephew. Before the pandemic, we'd occasionally go out for dinner. We are friends, nothing more. She came to the U.S. from Columbia about 50 years ago to go to graduate school. She's intelligent and personable, but doesn't know when to STFU.
The last time we went out for dinner, it was at a chain steakhouse, whose name escapes me. It was almost a repeat performance of what transpired in Taos, except the comments were from a young couple seated at a nearby table. My "auntie" didn't fill me in on what was said until we'd left. Apparently, the young woman had commented in Spanish to her male companion that we were a cute elderly couple, to which he responded, "Do you think they still f**k?" She responded, giggling, "I hope so."
As we were leaving, Auntie smiled at the young couple and commented in Spanish, "My date is my nephew."
 

Mikem

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I was in a bar in Hawaii with a friend of mine from Texas (he being blonde, six feet tall with a Texas drawl) having a couple of beers. Two of the bar girls (for some reason both were from Japan) came over trying to get us to buy them drinks. After about a half hour they gave up. The whole time they were jabbering to each other in what I assume was Japanese. As they were getting up they said something and my Texas buddy answered them in fluent Japanese. It about floored all of us. Come to find out he spent four years in Japan in the Air Force and almost married a Japanese girl.
 

RSteve

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My brother's son (44) speaks several languages. He is unaccented speaking in Japanese as spoken in Tokyo. He works for a large international conglomerate. It was announced that his company had acquired a Japanese firm and that there would be a meeting in Frankfurt, Germany. The meeting would be in English and all participants would bring their own translators. My nephew, for a reason I do not understand, never put on his resume that he is conversant in four languages. I later learned that if his company knew of his language skills, he'd be spending most of his life traveling. He has a wife and three school age kids and wants to be there as they grow up.
At the meeting in Frankfurt, the interpreters brought by the Japanese delegation were having a great deal of trouble translating the technical jargon. My nephew said he could see some serious misunderstandings were on the immediate horizon.
He said he bowed his head toward the lead Japanese delegate and his interpreter and said in Japanese, "Please forgive my very rudimentary command of your beautiful language, but I believe there has been a misunderstanding." He than went on to clarify several points. The Japanese delegation showed immense gratitude that my nephew's employer had a Caucasian delegate who spoke fluent Japanese. My nephew's boss, who was seated next to him, said he almost crapped his pants when my nephew began speaking Japanese. As my nephew expected, when they returned to the States, he was offered a huge incentive to move his family to Japan for a minimum of three years. He turned it down.
 
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