Recently I’ve decided to learn some Spanish in my spare time, because since moving here to Seattle from Canada, I’ve noticed many more people speak Spanish than I am used to. Often, employers looking to hire are interested in those who can also speak Spanish. Up to the challenge, I’ve begun taking free online lessons, listening to someone pronounce the words, then repeating them. Outside the lessons, however, the only thing that has stuck thus far is asking “where” something is: ¿Dónde está el baño?
Listening to Spanish, on the other hand, is not* too* bad, and I find I can translate okay, since I already speak French. I find many words, when I hear them, though they may be spelled differently, I can pretty much figure out what they mean. I decide that perhaps I should flex some of the old French muscles first, get them back in shape, before tackling a new language head on. So I’ve been wandering around, muttering to myself in French, then repeating vague things in Spanish:
Ou est la cuisine?
¿Dónde está el cocina?
C’est une fourchette.
¿Dónde está el tenedor?
Je suis pleur mes plantes.
¿Dónde está mi diccionario?
You get the picture.
So this morning I have an eye appointment. Well, it turns out my eyes are pretty banged up, and I’m now forbidden to wear contact lenses until they heal up properly. Ugh. After some recommendations and advice on eye drops, I pay for my visit and head for the door. Before exiting, I stop at a mirror they have by the entrance and check my face for any stray dye I might have missed, since he had needed to use it for whatever it is optometrists do. Oculist. ¿Dónde está el optómetra?
Apparently, I had missed something while looking in the mirror. I didn’t look at my eyes. They had been dilated. I don’t drive, so it’s not something I thought about, until I got outside in the blinding sun. I squint and peer at the sign across the street, waiting for the WALK sign to light up. Thank goodness for bells. Ding! I walk across. Allons-y! ¿Dónde está el paso de peatones?
I head for the drugstore to get my eyedrops. At the checkout, they have my weakness: new lipglosses! I love lipgloss. I don’t claim to be addicted to it in any way other than pathologically - I don’t think there is anything about it that makes it addictive. I just believe I’m nuts about it. I already have a drawer full of lipgloss at home. Ah, but these are SPAeffects! Must have them… never mind that I haven’t smelled them yet, I must… have… lipgloss…
Je n’ai pas besoin de ceci.
¿Dónde está… ah… fuck it.
“Learning Spanish, I see!” the lady in front of me in line said. I looked up at her and smiled. She screamed and jumped!
“Your eyes, girl!” she shrieked. I laughed. I couldn’t help it.
“I’m so sorry,” I explained. “I was just at the eye doctor and he dilated my eyes. I forgot how strange they must look.”
The lady settled down. “I’m so sorry I jumped at you. I mean, it’s just that it’s… you know… the date? 6/6/6.”
I couldn’t help it. I rolled my eyes.
“You have to admit,” she continued, “that this was pretty freaky for me!”
“Yeah, I suppose it was,” I grinned. “Sorry to startle you.”
I walked home, looking like the unholy love child of French Stewart and Gilbert Gottfried, chuckling about the incident the whole time. Some people!, I think. How silly. I get home, place my purchases on the counter, and head to the bathroom to get a peek at those eyes.
“Mon Dieu!” Man, that is weird. “Le Diable, c’est moi!”
Then softly, without thinking:
¿Dónde está el diablo?