Pop Goes The Popote

, , , | Right | March 23, 2018

(My family is in a mall. We’re at the food court ordering some food. We have just arrived in the US from Mexico. I am about five or six years old, and I speak NO English whatsoever! We finish ordering and everything goes smoothly, but when we get our drinks the following conversation happens.)

Father: *to me in Spanish* “Hey, [My Name]. How do you ask for a popote?

Me: *in Spanish* “How would I know?”

Father: *in Spanish* “Try to think. How do you say, ‘popote’?”

(I still don’t know how he assumed I would just know how to say a random word in English, when I barely knew how to say, “aro no inglich,” my version back then of, “I don’t know English.”)

Me: *afraid of getting in trouble for not knowing a word, and using my witty logic* “Popoat?”

Father: *to the cashier in broken English* “I have popoat?” *points to drink in his hand*

(The cashier is clearly confused.)

Father: *getting frustrated* “POPOAT!” *keeps pointing at his drink*

Cashier: *deer-in-the-headlights look* “I—I—I…”

Father: *getting angry and very red in the face* “PO-PO-AT!” *as if saying it slower would make the cashier understand what he wants*

(By now the cashier, a young woman, is very frightened. My father is a big, heavy man, who has a very mean face. He seems very aggressive and frightens most people just by looking at them.)

Cashier: *now very frightened* “I— I’m so sorry. I— I don’t understand.”

Father: *louder and slower* “PO… PO… AT!”

(Another customer walks past my father with a puzzled look on her face, reaches for the straw dispenser, takes a straw, and walks back to her table.)

Father: “Oh! This!” *points to straw dispenser*

Cashier: “Oh! A STRAW!”

Father: *points to straw* “This ‘straw’?

Cashier: “YES!”

Father: “Oh. Sorry.”

(My father turned to me with an I’m-going-to–kill-you look on his face. I hid behind my mother while everyone laughed, including the cashier!)

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