Monday, April 14, 2008

Lost in translation

I remember when news editors collectively lost it after the release of Sex, Lies, and Videotape, in 1989. Every other headline seemed to be a variation of the title, e.g. "Sex, Lies and Protein Supplements". Just so, this post has nothing to do with the Sofia Coppola film about two American expats in Tokyo. (For the record, I hope to live long enough to see Scarlett Johansson age into a botoxed has-been.)

Once again, a person asked me for directions--in Spanish. This has happened twice before, always outside the Logan Square stop of the Blue Line. Now, I am fairly tall, and also possess the glowing complexion of a vampire bride. If you had recently arrived from El Salvador, and spoke no English, would you approach a giant blue-white woman and ask her for directions? I just don't get it. Perhaps I look kind; or perhaps I look like someone who will actually try to answer, using amusingly mangled high-school Spanish.

One morning while I was waiting for the Diversey bus, two men who looked like laborers asked me for the time. Actually, one man said "Excuse" and pointed at his wrist. Sure, I could have just shrugged, or shown him the time on my cell phone. But why waste an opportunity to speak another language poorly? ",never mind...Diez!...y...y...cinquenta. No, no...QUINCE!" I pumped my fist in the air, and they applauded.

photo: Julio's Auto Supply, at Diversey and Sacramento

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