Friday, February 27, 2015

In search of the "F" word.

The joy of living in a different country and learning a new language is that you forever will be in the process of learning it. I still do, doesn't matter how good you can speak it. Specially when you start learning a bit old and not as a kid. You go through just being all ears in the beginning , until being a pain in the butt asking everything and then just wonder if what you said was right or wrong , or being very insecure to say anything , afraid of making mistakes. Also the fact that your accent will not please everybody is a bit painful. Some people love my accent and I'm proud of it. And at this age and point in life, there is very little I can do.
I could write down so many times I said something that would make everyone cheeks blush, and when you realized what you said was something not very pleasant, it is already too late to go back. Someone will be cracking up and remind you for the rest of your living life what you said like 20 something years ago or so...

But this is not quite the case of saying something but really not getting what was going on. The year was 1995 and I was still new around here. A housewife who new little about the outside world. The phone rang and I have a tremendous difficulty to understand people I don't really know on the phone. But this lady was very clear with her words:

Me: Hello?

Lady: Is this Mrs. B?

Me: This is she.

Lady:  Hi I work for the bus transportation and we had a little problem with your son today.

Me: Okaaaaaay...  

Lady: He said the "F" word.

How proud I was!!!  My son had months of speech therapy because he couldn't pronounce the letters: V and F , instead he would say the letter R. What a joy!

Me: Oh that's nice!

Lady: Excuse me?

So I explained to her the speech problem and how he conquered very good results at last!

Lady: Sorry, that's not the case, he said the "F" word if you know what I mean.

Me: What "F" word?

Lady: The "F" word ma'am

Me: Well there are tons of "F" words in the dictionary and...

By now I think the lady realized that or I was a liar or reaaaaly dumb for not knowing the "F" word.
The thing is: I didn't know that to say F*** you had to use it a very polite way for just not to say it the way it is. That was the very first time I hear the "F" word expression thing. Only heard the real thing I guess! In my country we can try to disguise it but it either on a wrong way or a funny way. And to be quite honest it never crossed my mind that my little boy knew how to say this awful word. So to me I never realized what he said on the bus was a bad word after all.

Lady : So do you know the "F" word right?

Me: No...

Lady: I believe you! Sigh...

Me: Well,  why don't you just say it?

Lady: Ma'aaaaaaam  I can't even though I really want to say it right now.

Me: Well how am I going to find out?

Lady: I don't know...

Only now I realized that perhaps it wasn't a good word after all. Somehow all i could come up with was SOB that doesn't start with the letter F. But translating it in Portuguese it indeed starts with the letter F.
I heard a long pause and a sigh and someone having a stroke on the other side.

Me: I'm sorry I cannot think anything right now, and if you don't tell me I can ask my son what the word is.

Lady: Oh I'm pretty sure he is going to tell you the real thing! 

Me: Oh he is a good boy! He will!

Lady: Well, why don't I spell it for you? How is that?

Me: How nice of you!

Lady: F - U - C - KAAAAAAAAAAY !!!!!!!

Me: Oh dear! That wasn't very nice! I cannot believe my own son said such a thing. In this house we don't teach or say things like this!!!

Lady: I believe you ma'am. Have a great day!


No comments:

Post a Comment