Saturday, May 28, 2011

Not Everyone Speaks English

Some people who speak only English seem to assume even though they live in Mexico everyone speaks English. This amuses and befuddles me.

Among the anglo volunteers who were cleaning and painting on Thursday there were two young Mexicans, a young woman dusting shelves and books and a young man painting.

Roy, a volunteer painter, took it upon himself to make enquiries of the young Mexican painter. It wasn’t so much the questions he was asking that got to me, it was the tone in his voice, authoritative and assumptive.

“Where have you come from,” he asked

No answer.

“I mean, how did you find out about the library?”

Still no answer.

The questions continued, but the young Mexican, whose name, as it turned out, is Jose, didn’t respond.

Time passed. Jose and I occasionally talked, a sentence or two, then we’d get back to our respective tasks. I asked if he spoke English. He doesn’t. Still, from time to time Roy returned and carried on a one sided conversation with Jose.

“Lunch is here. You can take a break.” Betty had hired the young Mexicans, surely she knew they didn’t speak English.

The young woman, continued working.

“Lunch is here. You can eat now.”

She continued working.

“Comida,” Betty said. At last a Spanish word.

The young Mexican woman put the rag down and went to eat.

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