Shaken Not Stirred

Monday, April 10, 2006

Another WTF moment:Another Reason to Never Forget Your iPod

I know that most of my latest moments have happened at the gym. There's a perfectly good explanation for this. I'm taking my boards in May--everyone say a prayer for me, and I need to lose about 20 pounds. Because of the fact that I have to be in study mode for the next couple weeks, I've cut down my social time--either I'm at a desk reading and perusing review books or at the gym working off the stress and fat. Well my latest WTF moment just happened at my last trip to the gym.

Once again, I had forgotten my iPod. This sucks for me, because the music that is usually playing is this funk that I cannot not get into. It is that wanna be pump me up, get grooving and moving music. When I'm done with my weight routine and on the treadmill, I usually like jogging to either Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw or Billy Currington. Yeah, I know it isn't really exercise music, but it helps me get to that five mile mark (3 jogging, 2 fast-walk).

Anyhow, I ended up on the treamill beside the stationary bikes. This treadmill and the stationary bike face one of the weight machines. There was one guy on the stationary bike and another one using the weight machine. The guy on the stationary bike whistles to catch the attention of the guy on the weight machine and begins to speak to him.

"Como estas?" said the bike guy.
The guy on the weight machine turns to look over his shoulder, realizes the bike guy is talking to him and then points to himself for verification.
"Yeah, how you doing?" bike guy said.
"Fine" said the weight machine guy.
"Just bought a place down in Costa Rica and I'm practicing my Spanish" said bike guy.
"Oh" said weight guy.
"Do you speak a lot of Spanish?" said bike guy.
"Nope,I took French as an elective" said weight guy and then turned to join his buddy.
"Hmm, I thought most of them knew how to speak Spanish" bike guy said to me.

WTF? I know that weight guy was of Spanish descent. He looked Puerto Rican, but that was no reason for bike guy to assume anything.

It reminds me of one time I was traveling back from the Philippines. I remember handing my passport and carry-on to a security check lady in one of the Philippine airports. She said something to me in Filipino. I looked at her and said "Come again?" I guess she didn't get it cause she repeated herself, or said an entirely different sentence, would not know either way. I again looked at her dumbfounded. She sat there waiting for me to respond.

I then said, "I have no idea what you just said".
She replied, "Oh sorry, I assumed you understood" and then asked me for permission to open my carry-on.

Why do people assume that just because you are part of a certain ethnic group that you speak the language too? I speak zero Filipino, much less understand it. The weight guy in the gym may have been of Puerto Rican descent, but it didn't necessarily mean he could speak Spanish.

It's gym conversations like this that make me regret I forgot my own tune-out music.

32 Comments:

  • Amazing how we so often make assumptions on "face value" Angel.

    By Blogger Ben Heller, at 8:22 AM  

  • From the conversation, it sounds like he was being sarcastic to the guy b/c he sounded like was showing off to him for no reason. But, then again, you could be right. But either way, the was wrong to ask an odd question like that.

    By Blogger Drywall Mom, at 9:23 AM  

  • These brought to mind that old chestnut:

    "Assumptions make an ass of u and me."

    If only more people would think before they speak.

    Good luck on your board exams. Are you taking part 3?

    By Blogger Tea and Books, etc, at 10:28 AM  

  • Oh man, good luck on your board exams.

    I cannot speak Tagalog, but I can understand it. I think it was from living there when I was 5. It comes in handy when Filipinos are talking about you and they assume that such an "Americanized" assimilationist can't understand what they're saying.

    In college, the girl behind the counter in the dorms spoke to me as if I couldn't speak English. It was really funny. I laughed and told her I'm pursuing my bachelor's in English and last I checked, I spoke English pretty well.

    By Blogger The Phoenix, at 11:46 AM  

  • Yeah that's annoying. Some of us lose touch w/native tongues for various reasons.

    By Anonymous Babette, at 11:54 AM  

  • My family is Filipino. My brothers and I were born and raised in the US, though, and cannot speak Tagalog. I'm often asked if I speak Spanish. One of my brothers has been mistaken for a Native American. Someone once asked my other brother if he was Jewish. Go figure...

    By Blogger JJ, at 4:24 PM  

  • Best wishes on your board exams--I am sure you are going to ace them!

    By Blogger Etchen, at 4:27 PM  

  • I tend to agree with drywall mom. He might have just been popping off. But people are too quick to judge by appearances. Good look on the exams.

    By Blogger :P fuzzbox, at 5:20 PM  

  • Good luck on your exmas!

    My dad actually has the opposite happen to him. Because he has such a thick accent people try and speak spanish to him and he gets angry, insisting that he can speak English. It might not be as fast they like but he can speak it.. otherwise I don't think he would have gotten a PhD from FSU. I've had both happen to me..they assume I speak one or the other but not both.

    I met a guy from Manila a few weeks ago and he understood me in Spanish!

    By Blogger LostInTX, at 5:34 PM  

  • See...usually, people making complete fools of themselves is WAY more entertaining than anything I could download onto my ipod

    By Blogger Princess Pessimism, at 5:52 PM  

  • fjSee Angel, and here's waht you're missing not living in SOuth Florida. peoepl come up to me EVERY DAY and speak to me in Spanish. And I look white. But it is quite disgusting. The asusmptions work both ways, I guess.

    By Blogger White Dade, at 6:16 PM  

  • Well first off good luck with the boards and dropping the pounds. It is pretty amazing how you stereotype people just by first impressions.

    By Blogger mrshife, at 7:03 PM  

  • Best of luck with your Exams ... hope you get through them with flying colors.
    I guess the saying "never judge a book by its cover" applies here !!
    Have a great day, take care, Meow

    By Blogger Meow, at 7:14 PM  

  • hmmmmmm- yes everyone assumes
    because i have red hair
    i am speak gaelic

    and good luck on your boards
    you will be brilliant...
    and beautiful.

    By Blogger Maddy, at 9:28 PM  

  • Assume - Ass of u and me :-)

    I absolutely cannot run without my ipod, it gives me that extra push - another reason is sometimes there are ladies cackling away, this peeves me off more than anything

    By Blogger True Blue Guy, at 10:36 PM  

  • Everyone assumes I can dunk a basketball because I am tall. I can.

    By Blogger Big Ben, at 10:52 PM  

  • don't you want to learn filipino? i think its sad when people don't speak the language of their "decent". i'm trying to teach my kids spanish as a reminder of where thier roots come from.

    By Blogger vani, at 11:03 PM  

  • Next time that happens, just look at the guy and say, "Hee Hawww" When he tells you he has no idea what you're saying, tell him, "Oh, you look like a dumbass so I thought I'd say something in your language.

    By Blogger Walter, at 12:10 AM  

  • Read this about VS Naipaul, the nobel laureate for literature. He has been in England for more than 20 years and probably speaks better English than most folks there. Yet there is this discrimination on skin color. And when he goes back to his roots in Trinidad he doesn't belong there anymore and probably never did as he is a third generation Indian.

    By Blogger Wriju, at 2:33 AM  

  • Oh and best of luck :-)

    By Blogger Wriju, at 2:34 AM  

  • This reminds me of something I read in a global marketing book recently. (I know, exciting bedtime reading, eh?) In Japan, the motivation for using an iPod is to listen to music without bothering others.

    In the US, it's quite different: To listen to music without being bothered by others.

    Remember your iPod next time, and let jackasses continue to make assumptions without troubling you with them.

    -- david

    By Blogger David Amulet, at 6:25 AM  

  • I'm a little embarassed about my spanish...so there was

    one time I was meeting with a doctor and she was angry that I chose English in my "preference"

    I had no patience and really was angry for her arrogance. I told her to get over it and continue doing her job.

    She tried to make me feel bad that I didn't know enough spanish to speak it fluently.

    By Blogger Cari, at 7:54 AM  

  • very true...and i too assume when i see a spanish/mexican person that they know spanish..

    course i dont know a lick of any language but english..

    and I hate forgetting my ipod, course my treadmill is about 2 feet from my computer, which is where my Ipod lives..I have it charging all the time..

    I need to excersie to fast paced..um..80's pop music..now how lame is that?..a little funky cold mednia, or lets even say superfreak..even bust a move by young mc..yes..I am THAT lame;)

    By Blogger Bossy♥'s YOU, at 9:57 AM  

  • Wow, that's a bit insulting! And why in the world would you start talking to a complete stranger out of the blue, just to "practice your spanish"?

    People are weird =)

    By Blogger the_mrs, at 10:16 AM  

  • Angel, I used to live in South Florida. Now you have seen a picture of me (probably several on my blog). Every time, without fail, when I went into Miami, someone approached me speaking Spanish as if they were asking me something. I have absolutely no Spanish bloodline in me and have never even taken Spanish in school. I just looked at them in their eyes and said "I speak English". They looked at me in surprise and walked away.
    Isn't that interesting!

    By Blogger Lee Ann, at 12:49 PM  

  • ew. "most of them"?? WTF does that mean. That guy sounded like jack-ass. Even if I did speak Spanish, I would have been like WTF?

    By Blogger Anhoni Patel, at 8:28 PM  

  • i totally feel you angel. people just don't understand. some do, but a lot more don't.

    By Blogger joey♥, at 3:47 AM  

  • I took Spanish. Should have taken binary, I use it a lot more. The robots I work with don't speak human.

    By Blogger Gyrobo, at 9:06 AM  

  • Angel -
    I'm not sure if you got any comments form the loser who was impersonating me, but if you did I apologize. If you saw them, you'd know. It wasn't from me, I assure you, but some irate FSU fan decided to go aorund and leave immature comments using my name. Annoying. Anyway, if oyu got any I apologize on his behalf, and please delete them from your blog.
    Since you have no email, I am leaving you a comment.

    Thanks,
    Dade

    By Blogger White Dade, at 2:01 PM  

  • Have you received your CD yet?

    By Blogger the_mrs, at 6:24 PM  

  • I think the guy was just trying to make conversation and didn't know what to say.

    By Blogger Lucy Stern, at 12:08 AM  

  • I *hate* it when I forget my ipod for the gym... the treadmill SUCKS without it.

    By Blogger ziggystardust73, at 8:19 AM  

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