Village Idiot

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy dad often says that he’s grateful that he wasn’t born in the middle ages. He has terrible eyesight, and would surely be labeled the village idiot for all his running into poles.

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.

Instant Idiocy!

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.

3 thoughts on “Village Idiot

  1. In a year, I imagine this time will appear in a montage set to some incredible flamenco-inspired Spanish pop-song, and you will be fluent and fabulous and giggling at your initial gaffs.

  2. I love that you’re learning things in Spain that you possibly could not have learned in the States! Not that you weren’t already kind or humble…now you are possessing MORE of these qualities. And I, for one, would LOVE to hear you order a drunk person!

  3. I spent 3 months in New Zealand and completed my student teaching. I spoke to a 5th grade boy who wrote an entire paper with no punctuation. The following conversation took place:
    Me: I think we need to take a look at your paper. You don’t have any periods.
    Student: Ugggghhhh, yeah. I don’t have period.
    Me: Yes, I know. Let’s see if we can fix that.
    Student: EWWWWWW. I DONT have a period and I don’t ever want one either.
    Me. Hmmmm…And what exactly do you call the punctuation mark that you put at the end of sentences here in your country.
    Student: That would be “full stop.” A period is something my mother has.

    Classroom Idiot…

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