Non-English-speaking could at least try to learn the language |

Non-English-speaking could at least try to learn the language

Dear Editor,

I would like to voice my opinion about something that continues to gnaw at me more and more. Please don’t take this as “red-necked” or narrow-minded, because it is most certainly not written in that vein. I am lucky enough to have received an excellent education in the Midwest and have no desire to malign others less fortunate, but things are becoming out of hand. Following are several cases in point, and though they may seem trivial it’s the bigger picture which annoys me the most.

As I am selling my car I have folks calling and dropping by to look at the vehicle. A very nice couple calls me on their cell phone from across town. Doing our best at my not-so-great Spanish and their not-so-great English we get them at least at my neighborhood’s edge, where after asking my neighbors directions we finally all connect. Then the face-to-face communication begins, and all is well. During our conversation I lightheartedly remark that I studied seven years of French in school, and how I wished it had been Spanish. The Senora then got a very serious look in her eye and remarked that I must learn Spanish with the unsaid “it’s the wave of the future” still on her lips.

Yesterday was probably the sixth time that I have had lunch at my favorite burger place in as many weeks. Four of those six I received too much food, not enough food, someone else’s food, cheese on a hamburger or a cheeseless cheeseburger. Why? Because the person standing in front of me taking my order couldn’t speak enough English to call 911. Please, restauranteurs, good help is hard to find but if you’re going to have a “front man” please make sure that they can communicate with the indigenous people of the area – and I don’t mean the Utes.

I called my very favorite takeout place last night. The elderly man answered the phone, and I know it is him. That’s good and fine – he always smiles when I come to see him, but is usually fairly cranky all-around. I’m on the phone with him and we are obviously having some difficulty communicating. I suppose I could have ordered my food by the number, but I’ve never liked doing that. Anyway, when the order is finally placed to the best of (I hope) my ability, I politely ask him to repeat the order to me, to which he cops an attitude. Finally, he says he will repeat the order once, and does so, and of course I could only understand half of what he said. My roommate left on the four-mile journey to pick up the food, and – I suppose not to my surprise – returned with half of what we ordered.

Again, please make no mistake – this is no ignorant racist call-to-arms. I am not wearing a sheet. I am only trying to vent ongoing frustration about an inability to communicate with people around me and a seemingly whimsical and flippant attitude from those who CAN’T speak English. I don’t expect someone to learn English immediately. I am not an uncaring person. I DO expect an effort, and when I don’t see one it makes me want to write letters (not burn crosses). I WILL NOT be taking Spanish or Mandarin as a second language UNLESS I MOVE THERE.

Dana Andersen

New Castle

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