I think as denizens at Lakeside we have an obligation to try to learn Spanish. Even if just to show our hosts that we, as guests, don’t expect them to bear the burden of speaking English for our convenience.
Consider this scene: A couple goes to the doctor with an emergency and a “Spanish Words and Phrases Book” the size of a soap chip.
“Okay now dear, we’re here. Let me handle this. We have our Spanish words and phrases book here. Thank goodness. (To Doctor) Mi nombre is David Pierce. This is mi esposa, Mildred.” Mildred collapses into a chair yelping in pain. She’s grasping at her chest. David is paging furiously through his phrase book as pages tear from the binding.
“Ah … esposa ... very... enfermo,” David says.
Doctor nods politely with a pout of concern. Mildred gives out a groan.
“She has … great dolores. Am I saying that right? Dolores?
“David!” Mildred cries. “I’m really sick here. Do your bloody grammar lesson another time!”
“Yes, of course, dear. Gran ... gran dolores are in her … (paging some more) breast. Let’s see, pechuga de pollo.”
“You idiot, you’re in the cooking section!” Mildred gasps and falls back into her chair. “Doctor, maybe, yo tengo un heart attack.”
David pages briskly. “Ataque al corazon. Honey, heart attack is ataque al corizon!”
Doctor approaches Mildred with a reassuring spotlight of a smile.
“Honey, I’m taking care of this. We want to make sure there are no misunderstandings. (Paging furiously) It’s either ataque al corazon or ataque cardiaco. I’m not sure which.”
“David, stop being a fool! Shut up and tell him to do something!”
Doctor smells Mildred’s breath and tries to wave its toxicity away with his hand. Mildred faints. David is getting panicky now. “Doctor, be honest with me. Is she dying? Ella esta ... dying? How do you say dying? (Paging) Dying. Dying.”
Calmly in perfect English, the Doctor asks, “What did she eat today?”
“Ah … ah ...” David stammers, realizing the Doctor is speaking English. “Ah … she ate … She had one of those things ... you know ... one of those baked things!”
“No, señor, I don’t know ... one of those things.”
David shows doctor Mildred’s breakfast on a page he just found. “Here’s a picture.”
“Yes, tortoise whatever.”
Mildred wakes from the gentle ministrations. “David, where am I? David?”
“Yes, dear, I’m right here. I’m looking up the word for “dying.”
Mildred gasps loudly and faints all over again.
“It’s muriendo – dying!”
“The tortas? Did she have them with chipotle sauce?”
“Yes with sauce.”
“It’s probably just a little indigestion.”
“Indigestion? But everybody says don’t be fooled by indigestion. It’s always a heart attack.”
“Not down here in Mexico. I’ll give you some Tums, my friend.”
Half-unconscious, Mildred drones on. “David, I don’t want an open coffin. And I leave everything to the kids. You can look after yourself. But don’t try it here in Mexico.”