Wednesday, September 17, 2008

No hablo español

I'm ashamed to admit that I speak basically no Spanish, living as I do in a town where the phonebook has 74 entries under “Chavez” and only 14 under “Jones.”

Frequently, people call me on the phone and speak Spanish. So that I could be polite to them, I asked a Spanish-speaking friend of mine to teach me how to say “I don't speak Spanish.” I studied on it for several minutes until I was confident I could pronounce it correctly.

However, when I used this phrase to answer phone calls in Spanish, I could never get anyone to believe me. They would continue in Spanish, and I would repeat my magic phrase “No hablo Español,” and they would go on in Spanish, and a good time was had by none.

One day it occurred to me that maybe I was doing too good a job pronouncing it. Next time I got into this situation, I used a horribly exaggerated Texas accent: “No-oo HOB-low ess-puh-NOLE.”

That did the trick. Since then, every Spanish-speaking caller has believed me right away.


Danny said...

Having grown up in a border town where this was nearly a daily occurrence, the best tactic is to just speak english. One of two things will happen. You'll find out the person on the other end of the phone knows english, or that they don't but they do know one phrase like, "Sorry."

Bill Weiss said...

Shipman? Really?

I accused Pi of having created this as Fake John Shipman, but he couldn't have pulled off the foodie stuff :)

slymongoose said...

Shouldn't that be:
No Habla?