She Must Be Thinking In Double-Dutch

, , , | Right | April 7, 2021

I’m eating at a fast food place in Belgium. A couple next to me is discussing something in English. When it is their turn, the guy orders in Dutch, the local language.

Girl: “Did you just now order in Dutch?”

Guy: “Yes.”

Girl: “You’re an idiot; they all understand English here.”

The guy shrugged it off and I tried to process what I’d overheard.

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A Sade Pleet With A Side Of Haggis

, , , , , , | Working | April 6, 2021

I’m from England. This was one of a string of temporary jobs I had while travelling a few years back. I’m selling people pies, sandwiches, and tea as normal when a lady in a nurse’s uniform asks me a question.

Nurse: “Can I have a sade pleet, please?”

Me: “A what?”

Nurse: “A sade pleet.”

I’m completely confused.

Me: “I beg your pardon?

Nurse: “A sade pleet!”

Me: “Er…”

I gesture at the array of food, drinks, and other assorted cafeteria-related items on the counter between us.

Me: “Ma’am, if you can see one on here, please grab one!”

The nurse picks up a small plate from a pile in front of me and shakes it.

Nurse: “A sade pleet! A SADE PLEET!”

It’s at this point that I finally twig that I’m listening to someone with a distinct Scottish accent, which I haven’t heard in some months and wasn’t expecting to hear at all while working in a hospital cafeteria in Australia. She’s asking if she can have a side plate. I laugh with some relief.

Me: “Beg pardon, ma’am, I wasn’t at all expecting to hear a Scottish accent here! Yes, of course, please take a plate, and sorry about that!”

Thankfully, she took it in good grace, headed off with her sade pleet, and, I hope, thoroughly enjoyed her break.

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Pretty And Witty And Very Literal

, , , , | Learning | April 6, 2021

I learned what the word “gay” means through an old song that uses it to mean “happy.” Being the oblivious girl I was, I didn’t realize that most kids didn’t know “gay” has two meanings, or that homophobia was a thing, until about eighth grade.

Once upon a time, about a dozen years ago, I was an undiagnosed autistic sixth-grader. A gaggle of girls sauntered over to me at recess, and one of them asked the strangest question.

Girl: “Are you gay?”

Me: “Which kind of gay do you mean?”

There is silence, a pause, and confusion all around.

Girl: “What?”

Me: “Well, there are two meanings. There’s happy, like—” *singing* “—‘happy and gay the live-long way.’ And then there’s ‘gay’ meaning, um, guys like liking guys or girls like liking girls.”

Again, silence. She’s not clarifying her question, but I’m going to do my best to answer. After all, maybe she’s asking to make sure I’m doing okay, or because she likes me, or maybe she’s confused, and hearing someone else’s story could help her figure herself out.

Me: “I mean, if you meant ‘happy,’ then yeah, I guess I’m pretty gay right now. I’m pretty happy. If you meant, um, the other one, then I guess I don’t know? I know I like guys, but maybe I like girls, too? I haven’t had many crushes, so maybe it’s just a coincidence they’re all boys? I know I’m not all gay, but maybe partly?”

The girls are slowly backing away. I don’t know how they expected this conversation to go, but this certainly isn’t it.

Me: “I’m like, 90% certain I’m not that kind of gay, but if I figure out I am, I’ll let you know, okay?”

They didn’t really talk to me much after that. I’ve since lost contact with them.

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We Thought He Was A Donkey

, , , , , | Learning | April 4, 2021

Spanish Teacher: “Don Quixote is a caballero, so what is he in English?”

Student: *With complete confidence* “A horse.”

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Adorable, Lovable, Cute, Endearing, Sweet, And Darling

, , , , , | Related | April 3, 2021

When I am nine and my sister is five, our neighbor Roger decides he needs to live in an assisted living facility. Knowing that I play violin and piano, he gives me his clockwork, non-electronic metronome — a device that clicks to keep you on tempo. I put it on top of the rather tall upright piano.

Later that week, I am given an English assignment to use a thesaurus on a previously-written essay.

Me: “Mom, have you seen Roger’s Thesaurus anywhere?”

Mom: “What did you say?”

Sister: “What’s a thesaurus?”

Mom: “Did you say, ‘Roger’s Thesaurus’?”

Me: “Yeah, that’s what my teacher wants me to use.”

Sister: “What’s a thesaurus?”

Mom: “It’s not Roger’s; it’s Roget’s! I’ll call and ask your father where it is. I know we have one. Go ahead and get on the computer.”

I turn to explain to my sister what a thesaurus is, but she has left the room, so I head downstairs to the family desktop.

A couple of minutes later, I hear a crash from upstairs. Figuring it is my mom dropping things like usual, I ignore it. My sister then comes bounding down the stairs with a freshly-forming bruise on the side of her face, metronome in hand.

Sister: *Happily* “I got Roger’s dinosaur for you! I had to climb on the coffee table to get it, and the coffee table fell over and I fell, but don’t worry. I didn’t break anything. I’m okay, too.”

Me: “Um, thanks. That was really nice of you. But I don’t have to practice violin until later. Why’d you bring this to me? And why do you think it’s a dinosaur?”

Sister: “But you told Mom you needed Roger’s dinosaur for your English homework! This is the only thing Roger gave you!”

I figure out that the “saurus” in “thesaurus” confused her. I explain that this is a metronome and what a thesaurus is. 

Mom: “Your dad had the thesaurus in the shed for some— [Sister], are you okay?!”

Sister: “I’m fine! Give [My Name] the dinosaur book so it can teach her fancy words! [My Name], will you teach me some fancy dinosaur words, too?”

Twenty-five years later, my sister still calls long, complicated words “dinosaur words.” I still have that metronome.

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