Thursday, June 23, 2011

Difficulty Making Yourself Understood

It's not just for the foreign language any more!

We just got back from a visit to America. (It was great, fun was had.) While there, we had a few communication challenges to overcome...not counting the Slovak's traditional introduction to new people of "Hi, I'm The Slovak" followed by blank stares at the unfamiliar name.

Early one morning the Slovak went out to get us coffee (is he not a lovely husband?) and came back somewhat depressed. He said the girl working at Starbucks made him repeat everything three times before she understood. He asked me if his English is really that bad or is the girl just not very smart? I suggested maybe it was the lack of a distinct Southern accent that threw her off.

The next few times we went in, he made me order, and I HAD THE SAME PROBLEM. Same girl, made me repeat myself three times, and still got the order wrong. I was able to assure him that it wasn't him, it was her. Poor guy was starting to doubt himself.

Then, for our last meal before getting on the plane, we stopped at Olive Garden. We sat down, then the Slovak and K left for the bathroom. While they were gone, the waiter stopped by for our drink order.

"I'd like two raspberry lemonades and a child's apple juice please."
"OK, and for you?"
"I'm having one of the lemonades."
"So three raspberry lemonades and an apple juice."
"No, no, just two raspberry lemonades."
"But that's only three drinks."
"There are only three of us here. Me, my husband, and my daughter."
"But I could have sworn I saw a tall, bearded guy with glasses walking away from this table a few minutes ago. With a child."
"Yes, that was my husband and my daughter. We're the only ones here."
"OK, you threw me off with the 'three child's lemonades and an apple juice' thing."
"?? No, sorry, I just want two adult raspberry lemonades and a child's apple juice."
"OK, wait, let's start from the beginning. Who all is sitting here today?"
"Two parents, drinking raspberry lemonade. One child, drinking a child's apple juice."
"Yes. But what are YOU having?"
"I'm one of the parents."
"But what about the other person here?"
"Really, no other person. Two raspberry lemonades, one child's apple juice."

I am not even exaggerating. I think I may have left out a couple of exchanges, in fact. Somehow I convinced him to bring the drinks I asked for, and we got them. Eventually. It was very difficult keeping a straight face for the last half of the conversation.

Good grief. :)

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