Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Foot-in-mouth disease; or, "Oh, well, it could've been worse...oops, and now it is"

I've decided I'm tired of not being able to speak Spanish while living in Mexico, and so I've asked those of the baristas at Java Dave's who speak Spanish, to speak Spanish with me. But they all know English much better than I know Spanish, and thus, the moment I get into trouble, they switch to English and help me out. Which is not helpful.

But I've met Daniel and Daniela's mom (yes, those kids' parents did indeed name their daughter Daniela and their son Daniel), and I know perfectly well that neither Sylvia nor her mom (the kids' abuela) speaks any English. So I made an offer to Daniel and Daniela: I would take their family out to dinner, on condition that anybody who spoke English would have to buy his own food. I figure even if the youngsters forget themselves and start speaking English, Sylvia at least will have no choice but to force me to communicate in Spanish.

Of course, the day after I struck this deal with Daniela, I was talking to Veronica on the morning shift, and told her I was going to start trying to talk in Spanish because I wanted to get my Spanish back. Her first words: "Well, you should start dating a Mexican lady, and then you'll have to speak Spanish."


That evening I swung by and Daniela was working the evening shift; so I carefully but politely clarified that I was not trying to set up my own blind date with her mother...okay, got that settled.

Then I come into work this morning, and one of the MRE consultants gives me a very nice invitation to the MRE Christmas party. I look at it and see that the date of the party is the same date I've set for that little dinner party en espaƱol. Without choosing my words carefully, I proceed to get myself into trouble:

PERIL: Mike, I really appreciate the invitation, but I can't go to the party that night -- I already have a dinner date for that evening.

The hounds are instantly in full cry:

CHORUS (all, as ever, more or less at once): OOOOooo, a dinner date! / Who is she? / Whoa, man, the ink's not even dry! / Dude, why not just bring her to the MRE party?

PERIL [hands uplifted, palms out]: No, wait, that's not what I meant. Guys, I'm taking a family out to dinner.

CHORUS (all, as ever, more or less at once): Well just bring the whole family to the party / Wait, wait, this is Kenny we're talking many people in this family -- nine? ten? / We might have to set aside a whole table just for Kenny and his guests...

PERIL [rolling eyes]: Okay, obviously I said that wrong. I shouldn't have said it was a dinner date -- more like a dinner engagement...

After that I decided perhaps I should just stop talking.


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