January 21, 2004

-Buenos dias, La Compania, Dianna habla.

Y como puedo ayudarle? No, lo siento, el senor jefe no esta aqui ahora. Quiere Ud. dejar un mensaje? No, yo no se cuando volvera. No esta en la oficina hoy. Pero si Ud. me da un mensaje con su nombre y numero, de verdad el le llamara manana. Si. Si, es cierto. Si. Y su nombre? Bueno. Y... ah, gracias. Ocho-cero-cero-cinco, dijo? Ah, ocho-cero-cero-siete. Bueno. Lo tengo. Y su mensaje?

Como? Creo que no entendio esto. Puede Ud. repetirlo? Gracias. Espera, espera... de verdad tiene Ud. la oficina correcta? Si, claro... pero el senor jefe no tiene algunos hijos. Por que dijo que Ud. tiene su hijo?

Su.... bebe? De que habla Ud.? El senor jefe no tiene ni hijos ni bebes! Es cierto que Ud. quiere hablar con otro jefe en otra oficina. Que? Que significa, tiene un bebe ahora? Estoy totalmente confundida!



De verdad? El? Esta cierto? Por Dios! Que cabron! Oye... no dije la verdad cuando dije que el no estaba en la oficina. Esta en su oficina con alguna mujer. Si, si! Ahora! Dejame pasar su llamado a el, y Ud. puede gritarle todo que quiere... y digale que me debe cincuenta dolares y yo dejo de trabajar si no los recibo! *click* *SLAM!*

I had a conversation with Jacob and Andrew last night that reminded me of the fact that I'm really an argumentative brat. I was wondering whether or not to mark off the box on a job application stating that I can speak/read/write Spanish. There were two boxes, one for "fluent" and one for "good", and while I was certain the first box would be inappropriate I was generally unsure about the second one. Leading a potential employer to think one can do things one can't really do sets up profoundly unpleasant situations for the potential employee, so I strive to be honest. But really, my Spanish is okay. It's not great, but if they had a "fair-to-middlin'" box I'd be happy to check that one. Jacob and Andrew felt strongly that I should just check the damn box they gave me or I'd be selling myself short and fucking up my chances of employment.

I was entirely convinced after about 2 minutes of this that checking the box was the appropriate thing to do, but somehow I just couldn't stop arguing for the fun of it. It's incredibly frustrating to be arguing a practical point and have someone haul out semantic and technical arguments at you, which is precisely why I was doing so for my own perverse enjoyment. Sorry, guys... well, slightly sorry anyway.

I'm also slightly sorry for the lack of proper accent marks in the foregoing passage. It's nice that it covers up where I can't remember how to spell, though.

Posted by dianna at January 21, 2004 02:39 PM

Shit, I speak spanish too! I had to look up gritar but got everything else. I'm so proud. I'm also impressed that you too speak spanish, didn't know you did.

Posted by: gene at January 21, 2004 02:47 PM

Go Gene, you Spanish-speaking man you!

I had to look up a lot more than that, but then, it's always easier to read something and remember what the words mean than it is to write something and remember how to say the things you're trying to say.

Posted by: dianna at January 21, 2004 02:52 PM

Since I don't speak Spanish, I turned to Google's Language Tools. I think they did a bang-up job of translating.

"And as I can help him? No, I feel it, the senor head not this aqui now. Love You to leave a message? No, volvera I not when. Not this in the office today. But if You give a message me with your name and I number, he really called manana to him. If. If, it is certain. If. And its name? Good. And... ah, thanks. Ocho-cero-cero-cinco, said? Ah, ocho-cero-cero-siete. Good. I have it. And its message?

Like? I believe that not entendio this. Can You repeat it? Thanks. Delay, really hopes... you have You it correct office? If, clear... but the senor head does not have some children. So that he said that You have your son?

His.... he drinks? Of which You speak? The senor head has neither children nor you drink! It is certain that You want to speak with another head in another office. That? That it means, has drinks now? Totally I am confused!



Really? This certain one? By God! That cabron! It hears... I did not say the truth when I said that it was not in the office. This in its office with some woman. If, if! Now! Dejame to pass its call to, and You can shout everything to him that she wants... and digale that she must fifty dolares to me and I let work if not them receipt! * click * * SLAM *"

Posted by: Jacob at January 21, 2004 05:03 PM

employers always take whatever's on your resume and mark it down a few notches. they assume you're going to embellish. so when i write "worked as a senate aide for barbara boxer," most employers know that i really mean "watched barbara boxer on hannity and colmes this one time." it's the game we play. day after day.

Posted by: holohan at January 21, 2004 06:22 PM

Dianna, I'm with you! I never know what to put either. I always just write in, "proficient in Spanish," but then when they ask me what proficient means, I freak out and become evasive. Now that I think about it, a good way to avoid such a question is by saying, "Como? No hablo ingles."

Posted by: jason S at January 21, 2004 08:33 PM

By the way, why didn't I know that either of you were almost, just a little bit fluently proficient in Spanish? Together we could rule this town.

Posted by: jason S at January 21, 2004 08:36 PM

Well, it's easy for you to say that from your comfy apartment in the Mission, Jason. But where's the love and consideration for Berkeley here? Oakland? Spanish will not help us in these cultural sinkholes of non-Spanish-ness.

Okay, it might. On another what-the-fuck-do-I-do-with-this-application note, I noticed that the application itself had a glaring typo (rquired instead of required). I'm horribly tempted to circle it and write a note asking if this is the proofreading test that they said they would administer to applicants.

Posted by: dianna at January 21, 2004 09:11 PM