Today we studied Spanish with Janet (our beautiful, retired, quadrilingual tutor). Nik is conversational while I’m learning colors, which makes for very interesting classes. This post is less about Janet and more about life.
Everyone can say “Where is the bathroom?” in another language. Or try to.
While on the train to work after class, a woman asked me just that. But the bathroom was in the next car beyond a very big, very open gap. She pulled my usual move of staring silently at the person talking. In this case I was the talker. I could have said “El bagno es vicino el muro blanco” and “Pieudo aiutar” (my mix of spanglishian) but I’m afraid of making assumptions and mistakes. We made our quiet moment work nonetheless. I held the door open for her (and missed my fermo) because the conductor was too busy collecting tickets and when you have to go it ain’t fun to hold it.
You don’t have to speak another language to help someone. You don’t have to speak someone’s language to communicate with each other. You don’t have to be afraid to say whatever bits of nonsense you do know.
Five hours later when waiting for my train home, I answered another train question! If you are confused — amen — speak up! I once spent two hours waiting for a specific train connection in Italy, not asking anyone for help, to realize I could have taken any of five trains I had seen go by. Baby steps.
Catch ya later,