Thursday, April 01, 2004

Mi EspaƱol

My several semesters of studying Spanish in college finally paid off! Not at all like the semester falling in love with the woman in Spanish class who was already in a committed lesbian relationship. Not at all! I have forgotten most all of the Spanish I learned. Sadly. But when I went out the front door this morning I saw someone's smashed side mirror lying in my neighbor's driveway. I figured I would pick it up for her, and I noticed that it was one of those Dodge-looking mirror housings, black, like mine. I looked at my mirror on the curb side of my car, the mirror I installed myself (the car came without one). Maybe teenage vandals had broken off my mirror? Then I looked at the one on the street side. It was gone. Well, not gone: It was in pieces in my neighbor's driveway. She came out of the house, pointed out the car that had hit me, and said the guy was working a job at a house down the block just a bit. I went over there, and interrupted a Latino guy who had very poor English. He admitted that he had caused the damage, and in his broken English offered to pay for it. Part way through this mumbling conversation he asked me if I speak Spanish. I said, only a little. But, demonstrating the ubiquity of the internet, he named two web sites to go to in order to buy replacement parts. I ordered the replacement mirror that morning ($66.89 including tax and shipping). He called in the afternoon, and that's when my Spanish came to use. He seemed to be saying something about me selling the car, ("Queres vender el carro?") or maybe about him buying the replacement part. I switched to a mixture of Spanish and English to try to let him know that I did not want to sell my car ("No quiero vender mi carro.") , and that I had already bought the piece ("Yo he compro eso"), and that I would install it myself, and that he could just give me the money some time in the next few days. Those of you who actually know Spanish will notice that what I have typed here contains errors. Oh well -- it was good enough to serve my purpose.

My neighbor said he should have left a note on my car. But I have to credit him that he was scrupulously honest and helpful when I approached him about it. Maybe he is just an honest person. That's my impression.
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