Sunday, April 02, 2006

Lost in Translation

A quick trip to Chetumal Mexico (civilization) to the Mall Las Americanas for printer parts and a Big Mac with fries. we leave at 6 a.m. and arrive back home on the mainland at 6 p.m.
I'm speaking Spanish to the immigration officer coming into Mexico answering a few simple questions about where I'm from and where I'm going. He understands most of what I'm mushmouthspeaking.
In the mall I'm speaking Spanish, I'm saying Spanish words, they are a bit jumbled up though. The sentence structure is not corect, but I figure if I get enough of the words out, they will reconstruct the sentence for me and give me an award for trying so hard. Bigness, whose first language is Spanish, keeps deserting me or acting like he doesn't understand what I'm saying. I'm getting the same dumbphased look from the clerk that I give when someone speaks rapid Italian or Cuban Spanish to me. I realize how I speak, but its like the glue is holding my tongue to the roof of my mouth. I SPEAK SPANISH, but I need to bark it. I speak it slowly like I speak English. The pronunciation is correct. I realize now that Spanish isn't spoken, its barked. I say the words and Bigness repeats them EXACTLY the same way I say them, except he adds the snappishness. I was snappish once and it raised eyebrowns and got teeth sucking directed at me. DisCULpe! Hmph! Por faVOR! I said to a small Mexican man who shoved in front of me. He turned halfway and cut his eyes at me. I raised my eyebrows and said disCULpe (excuse me!) again. It is all about the body language and inflection. I pursed my lips, put my hand on my hip and say quietly mutherfoker.

Me: Bigness, did you just see that?
Bigness: what?
Me: N E V E R M I N D, but I almost killed someone in spanish.
Bigness: Cho! (creole word for "yea, right!)
Me: let's go to the GNC and see if they have Emergen'C.

GNC Vitamins in Chetumal Mexico - its a miracle. I see they have Joven brand cream in every flavor except the one I need. They have lavender for calming, mint for stimulating, collegen and elastin, honey wheat germ, but no wild yam cream. Wild yam? Mexican wild yam is a natural replacement for progesterone (the hormone). Joven makes the best wild yam cream I've used. As any premenopausal woman can tell you... progesterone is very important. I'm getting low on the cream and starting to feel the panic rising. Hot flashes, insomnia, general craziness, crying for no reason and dry skin are all symptoms of low progesterone levels.
There must be a mistake. They have every other flavor and color.
Me: "Tell the boy I need the wild yam cream"
Bigness: (look of horror comes over his face - you would have thought I was asking him to buy me a bottle of douche - and then drink it for me) "Me no noh how fu say dat."
Me: "Its in a pink jar, tell them you want the one in the pink jar."
Bigness: "Gial, me no noh what dat is."
Me: (Is the temperature rising in here? Did someone shut the air conditioning off?) I'm mentally thumbing through my spanish dictionery, what is the word for pink? Como se dice pink? We went through this about 3 months ago, the same exact coversation and I settled for menopause vitamins WHICH DID NOT WORK.
Me: "Tienes Mexicana dulce papas creama, esta rosado" roughly translates to "You have mexican sweet potato cream, its pink?" My pronouncation is perfect, I note, as Bigness EXACTLY repeats what I said, translating from Spanish into Spanish. What I should have said though is, "Necesito la crema salvaje mexicana del ├▒ame en el tarro rosado." I need Mexican wild yam cream in the pink jar.
Clerk shakes his head no.
Me: "Is that no, we don't have it or no he doesn't understand what we're asking?"
Bigness: Gial noh mek me do dis. (again with the look of horror - what's that all about?)
Me: (I try again) Tienes creama las como se dice menopause en Espanol? which roughly translates to "You have cream - how do you say - menopause in Spanish?"
Clerk: (head pops up) menopause? and heads over to the vitamin section. Finally a word that he understands.
Me: No gracias, no trabaja, es inutil (no thanks, no work, its useless) I've figured out by now that menopause is the same in both languages
Bigness: "Gial dey NOH HAV EET!" and slinks back into the mall, standing just far away that he can't hear me talking to myself IN ENGLISH.
I forget about asking Bigness to tell the boy they need to order it. I give up and pay for the EmergenC. The boy is happy we are leaving.
Bigness: I need to leave you alone to mek you speak it more.
Me: Cho! I travel all over Mexico without a translater and sooner or later I hit the right word.

2 comments:

Guyana-Gyal said...

I've heard of this wild yam cream and wondered how can yam have stuff that's good for menopause.

Maybe you can buy it online.

Hahaaha, Bigness is too 'shame' to buy it for you, is woman business that.

Caribbean Colors said...

Its funny to see a 61 year old man blush up and get flustered.