Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Please, take me for an american

if the best thing that can happen is to be taken for a local, every canadian knows that the very worst is to be taken for an american. soy canadiensa!

however, i am breaking rank, and i think you'll thank me for it. consider the following:
  • i am in a store with handmade leather jackets, gorgeous ones, with funky colors and inventive designs. even when it's clear that not even the XL jackets are going to fit, i try them all on anyway.
  • mo and i order lunch at our local restaurant. she's been practicing "sin ceballo" so that she can avoid the onions. our server seems puzzled, asks a lot of questions which turns into a longish discussion over the pronunciation of the word. we've been told to say "se-ba-jo" (that double l = j thing so hard to get used to: pollo = pojo, llama = jama), but our server has us practice "ca-ba-ja". when our salads come, hers is without the roasted pumpkin (calabaza). the really embarassing part: it's a roasted pumpkin salad.
  • picture me, if you will, along avenida bullrich, the grand boulevard that runs past a Jumbo Easy supermarket and an understated mosque. actually, just picture that for a second. now add me. i am wearing blue shorts and a bright orange t-shirt. in my left hand is a white gym towel. in my right, a yellow water bottle. i am doing my trainer-mandated accelerating sprints.
  • portenos are super polite. if you say "gracias" at a restaurant, chances are the server will say, 'no, please, thank you.' nobody moves without saying "con permiso" (literally, 'with your permission': excuse me). nobody, that is, but me. i spend a day in this ultra-polite city elbowing my way past people saying "sin permiso," "sin permiso," "sin permiso."
don't you agree, under these circumstances, correcting the impression that we're american is, um, unnecessary?

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