When I talk to him next, I will mention that there’s another way to be a village idiot:
1. Move to a foreign country.
2. Have a shaky, at best, knowledge of the language.
3. Interact with people.
My greatest hits in cutural misunderstanding are extensive. A few highlights:
1. I salted my toast because it was on the table.
2. I shattered my passenger-side mirror backing out of my own home.
3. I ordered a drunk person when I meant to order a sandwich.
4. I parked on the wrong side of a one way road. And then spent three minutes trying to back out, as the neighbors watched.
5. I caught my scarf in the wheel of a shopping cart.
And naturally, there are language hiccups. Yet, I don’t even understand Spanish people when they speak English.
My landlord asks, “Tienes skeepay?”
I reply, “Que?” because I always reply que to buy myself some time.
“Tienes skeepay?” he repeats.
I shrug. “No se.” I don’t know. Because I don’t know what you’re talking about.
A patient soul, he presses on. “Caras…en la computadora?”
Faces on computer. Skeepay.
Aha! “Si! Tenemos Skype!”
I’ve had similar long-winded conversations when Spanish people say words like “lasagna.”
See? Village idiot.
A part of me feels like I should explain myself to the Spanish people. Show them a resume or pictures. Something to prove that in my own world, I’m actually a somewhat capable person.
But then, why? In these blunderings, which are mostly harmless, and mostly amusing, I am learning. About humility. About the kindness of others. About patience.
So, it’s possible that people close their doors and giggle a bit at my expense.
And possibly, Paul and I do the same. I mean, these people eat dinner at 10 PM. That’s crazypants.
But for every day that I blush a little, there’s another day that I order garlic from the fruit stand without incident.
And for the village idiot, that’s not bad.