Inside The Ring Of Colonialism

, , , , , | Friendly | February 5, 2020

(My girlfriend and I are on our first holiday abroad together — both from the UK — travelling with my family. We are both at the evening meal buffet and the hotel is serving calamari. My girlfriend is standing next to the calamari when a stranger approaches her, a British male who is also staying at the hotel.)

Stranger: *pointing to calamari* “They shouldn’t serve that muck here.”

Girlfriend: “Excuse me?”

Stranger: “Those rings — I thought they were onion rings so I put some on my plate. They shouldn’t serve that muck as people will think that they’re onion rings.”

(I should point out at this point that each item of food has a little card next to it that says what the item is in Spanish and in English.)

Girlfriend: “But it’s calamari; it’s a popular dish.”

Stranger: “I know what it is, but they shouldn’t serve it because it’s foreign muck.”

(My girlfriend leaves to get food from elsewhere, and I just happen to approach the calamari. I’m putting the food that is next to the calamari onto my plate when the stranger approaches me.)

Stranger: *points to the calamari* “Don’t put that on your plate.”

Me: “I’m sorry, were you wanting some?”

Stranger: “No, they shouldn’t be serving that foreign muck in a place like this.”

Me: “In a Spanish hotel?”

Stranger: “People could think that they are onion rings.”

Me: “But it says what it is on the card.”

Stranger: “I don’t care; they shouldn’t be serving it. People don’t like it.”

Me: “Actually, I’m glad that they’re serving it because I love calamari.”

Stranger: “Well, not everyone does.”

Me: *pointing to another dish being served* “I don’t like that, but they’re still serving it and I haven’t got a problem with that because I know that people do.”

Stranger: “But people could think that they’re onion rings.”

(At that point, I realised that you can’t fix stupid and pushed past the stranger to get to the calamari. Surprisingly, he didn’t block me. I began to walk away when my mum approached the calamari and loaded some onto her own plate. The stranger just stared before walking off.)

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Feliz Navi-Bad

, , | Learning | January 21, 2020

(I work at a language school that also offers different kinds of student accommodation. I manage the homestay — local host families that take our students. Fall and winter were slow, but spring and summer come with a bunch of groups, so I have spent the last four weeks calling families to check if they are available. The Christmas season in Spain ends January 6th and both the 8th and 12th of December are bank holidays. In short, it’s a busy month for Spanish families, so to get in touch I have to call several times. Also note that we can call a family any time; we don’t control when a request for host family comes, so families are expected to answer the phone.)

Me: “Hi, [Lady]! I’m [My Name] from [School]; I’m calling to check if you can host some of our students.”

Lady: “Oh, hi, sweetie!” *has a small chat about the Christmas holidays and New Year* “So, [Guy that no longer works here] told me months ago about this group coming in March–”

Me: “Yeah, that group cancelled, but–”

Lady: “Cancelled?!”

Me: “Yup. They are not coming but–”

Lady: “Why didn’t you tell me?!”

Me: “Well, I’ve been calling lots of host families for the past four weeks, but I guess you might have been too busy with the Christmas season. Anyway, I have–”

Lady: “Well, it was Christmas. I was busy!”

Me: “I understand. There’s no big deal since the group is not coming but–”

Lady: “YOU SHOULD HAVE TOLD ME!”

Me: “Again, I called you several times and couldn’t reach you but–”

Lady: “You should have kept trying!”

Me: “I did. I called several times, different days and hours.”

Lady: “I had no calls from you! I had several calls from an unknown number, but not you!”

Me: “That was probably me, [Lady]!”

Lady: “Well, I don’t answer if I don’t recognise the number.”

Me: *stunned silence for a few seconds* “Well… I can only speak to you if you pick up your phone.”

Lady: “I don’t answer numbers I don’t recognise! You should have tried calling [Husband] or [Daughter]!”

Me: “Your number is the only one in the file.”

Lady: “So?! You should have tried!”

Me: *speechless*

(I’m still trying to understand how on Earth I am supposed to get in touch with someone if I only have one phone number and she chooses to not pick up the phone.)

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Sarcasm Is Not His Calling

, , , , | Friendly | January 8, 2020

(We’ve just finished a long day of rehearsal and the coordinator is giving us some final reminders for the next day.)

Coordinator: “Make sure you remember to bring… Wait, is that a phone I hear?”

(Sure enough, we can hear a phone ringing and vibrating. An actor raises his hand, slightly embarrassed.)

Actor: “Um, yes, sorry, it’s mine. Should I hang up?”

(The coordinator thinks he’s joking and laughs.)

Coordinator: *sarcastically* “Oh, no, don’t worry. Answer it; we’ll wait for you.”

Actor: “Oh, all right!” *answers his phone and starts talking*

(The coordinator is left with a wild look on her face and some crew members start chuckling. The actor, however, keeps talking on the phone, completely oblivious. When we realize this, the laughter stops.)

Actor: “Yeah, I know… Uh… Hey, I think I’ll call you later; everyone’s staring at me.”

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Managed To Get Both Continents Wrong

, , , | Right | December 19, 2019

(My friend and I are waiting in a very long, slow-moving passport control line to travel back to Canada. An agent begins to direct EU citizens to a different line. The man behind me has a clear American accent.)

Agent: “EU passports, gates D and E! Come this way!”

Man: *behind us, to his wife* “We’re going to gate D!”

Agent: “EU passports only, gates D and E! Please come to this line!

Man: “That’s us! We’re gate D!”

Friend: *turns around to man* “Are you an EU citizen? Do you have an EU passport?”

Man: “I’m gate D!”

Friend: “But do you have an EU passport?”

Man: “But she’s saying gate D, that’s us!”

Friend: “Gate D for EU citizens only! Are you from North America?”

Man: “No, I’m not from North America! I’m from Chicago!”

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His Speaking Speed Keeps Dublin And Dublin  

, , , , | Right | December 6, 2019

(I work as a waiter and bartender at an Irish pub in Spain that also serves restaurant food. I don’t speak Spanish but have picked up enough to get by when working — food, drinks, numbers, etc. I generally don’t have any language problems while working, but it’s obvious Spanish is not my native language. A Spanish customer has come in with his wife and son to eat lunch.)

Wife: *in Spanish* “I’ll have the chicken burger and a lemonade, please.”

Me: *in Spanish* “That’s fine.”

Son: *in Spanish* “And I’ll have fish and chips and a Coke.”

Me: *in Spanish* “Certainly.”

Husband: *speaks in Spanish too quickly and unintelligibly for me to understand*

Me: *in Spanish* “I’m sorry?”

Husband: *still speaks too quickly*

Me: *in English* “I’m sorry, I can’t quite understand that.”

Husband: *still speaking too quickly*

Me: “Maybe if you show me on the menu?”

Husband: *more unintelligible Spanish, getting annoyed*

(His wife then attempts to tell me what her husband wants, but he silences her.)

Husband: *more unintelligible Spanish*

(I think I finally understand the order and leave to give it to the cooks. When it’s ready, I bring the order back. The husband looks at his meal and then at me.)

Husband: *in perfect English* “I said I wanted the Irish Breakfast!”

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