Blogs in this series

Life in Culebrón is personal view of Spain and Spanish life as seen by a Briton living in a small village in Alicante province.
The other tabs link to similar blogs when I have lived in other places. The TIM magazine is an English language magazine I write articles for.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

I'm English, not stupid

My mum tends to get cross with people when there is no need to. I think I may have inherited some of her angry genes. I do get fed up, though, of some Spaniards thinking that because I stutter over Spanish I don't have a clue about what's going on around me.

I wrote an email for some tickets to an event the other day. There had been a cock up in the process, at their end, so it was a reasonably lengthy email. I got a reply in Spanish. A couple of hours later I got a message with a similiar message in a close approximation to English and, at the same time, another email in Spanish to check that I was aware that the performance was in Spanish. Did the email writers think I was that Shakespeare writing monkey with the typewriter?

We're in the Carrefour concourse. Some people approach me to persuade me to sign up for a WiZink card. Now WiZink is the bizzare name that some people from the Banco Popular have thought of for a range of products that they label as basic and simple. Amongst other things they have bought the Spanish Barclaycard operation. I have a Spanish Barclaycard and Barclaycard keep telling me that very soon they will send me my new card. I tell the people on the stall that. I tell them that I am already a customer. "No," they say "you can win two flights to New York."  By now I'm surrounded by three people trying to earn their commission by signing somebody up. My Spanish, which has been fine up to now, begins to crumble. I repeat that I am already a customer, I even resort to showing my Barclaycard. They obviously know nothing about the relationship between WiZink and Barclaycard. My Spanish becomess incorrectly formed and badly pronounced. "The card is the same." I say loudly and I start to walk away. One of the Wizink people gets hold of my arm. I shrug them off and head towards the Carrefour entrance then I turn around and go back to them and say in clear and precise Spanish "I'm English, not stupid" before turning on my heel once again.

People do it to me all the time. My Spanish is imperfect, very imperfect, but I'm reasonably clued up about what's going on around me. Senility has not yet set in and I'm begining to get angry enough, or maybe fluent enough, to occasionally turn on the people who think that their lack of knowledge about something combined with their fluency in Spanish makes them right and me wrong.

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