Sunday, July 01, 2007

Sleeping In Tongues

Tonight, as we were sleeping, the cell phone rang (that semi-comprehensible, voracious money-sucking Instrument of the Devil). I sleepily answered to the voice of a woman speaking Spanish and very basic English.

After a moment I understood that the voice on the other end belonged to the wife of the private driver I'd called earlier in the day, but with no answer.
I conversed glibly and seemingly fluently with her in Spanish, as we set up an appointment for a ride to the bus station early Wednesday morning. The driver, Sr. Nacho Vega then got on the phone and confirmed the appointed time and address.

When the call was over, I marveled at my new found fluency. Maybe sudden waking from sleep was the answer to my Spanish conversational challenges? That definitely wasn't the situation back in 1992 when a friend in Chihuahua phoned our hotel room at 10:00 p.m. We had had to immediately switch to English to understand each other.

On further thought, it was a subject for which I had been preparing. Then I also recalled a few grammatical slip-ups, such as using "nos trayó" for "nos trajo" ("he brought us" ); and really, "nos llevó" ("he carried us") would have been better.

But overall, I was amazed and proud that I'd been able to wake up and communicate well enough to make the appointment. I returned to bed and slept the sleep of the smug Spanish student.


Michael Dickson said...

Maybe the first waking moments are like having a few highballs. I recall that I could always speak better Spanish after a few slugs, back in my drinking days when I hardly spoke Spanish at all.

Cell phone annoyances? Get rid of it. I don´t have one. Doesn´t degrade life a bit.

Julia said...

Oh for the day I can speak as well as you do now. I am trying to learn to speak Spanish on my own and it is a chore to stay focused on the task.

As one friend told me "Be Brave, Speak and you will LEARN".