Sunday, June 05, 2005

Open Mouth, Insert Foot

There are several advantages to being bilingual. Even more so if that language is not easily recognizable. Any time a relative comes over for a visit we would take them to the major site seeing venues. This particular incident took place at Walt Disney World in the early 80’s.

If you’ve visited Disney World, then you are quite familiar with the lines that snake through to each attraction. The whole system is very organized and efficient. The wait can range from 10 minutes to 90 minutes. While my family and I were patiently waiting and moving through the lines, we were conversing in our native tongue. It usually draws some sort of attention. Typically someone will look over and try to identify the language and then look away. Back then and even today, I am not one to draw attention to myself. So when I noticed someone staring intently, I would turn towards them and tell them that what I was speaking was not, Italian, German, Greek, Spanish, Portuguese or Arabic. Of course I was speaking to them in my native tongue. Usually by “its not Greek” the person would turn away.

It became a game for me that day. Some would simply ask what the language was and once their curiosity was satisfied they’d return their attention to the line. This one gentleman would not stop staring. I went on with my prattle and when I was finished he looked me in the eye and said” I know because it’s Turkish.”

Busted!!!! Turns out he was visiting the World of Disney from Germany and he was married to a Turk. Our family befriended him. He later told me that I was very brave about challenging those who would not look away. He asked if I would be as comfortable from that moment on. I told him no. I’ve said before I always learn from my mistakes.

My family recounts this story every chance they get. Trust me!

1 comment:

HotForSimon said...

Hmmm...the most embarassing thing that ever happened to me at Disney was when some guy cussed out my ex husband and my dad because the break on dad's electric scooter disengauged itself and he drifted a few inches into the back of this man in line (and I do mean inches...this did not hurt the man in ANY way) ex tried to get between him and the scooter and the gentleman (that's being nice) proceeded to cuss the both of them out...and I mean vulgar front of all the kids in line for splash mountain.

so much for the happiest place on earth...LOL