Archive for the ‘Conversations’ Category

My parents are here!

July 22, 2009

After much threatening to do so… my parents have finally come here for a visit.

Oh, the conversations! I should take notes for future “Conversations” posts. While my father is now retired, he remains brilliant, witty, and organized. As fas as my mother… I’ll announce it for my whole readership to know: the woman scrubbed out my refrigerator. And this was only one of the tasks she has undertaken.

Seriously. The woman came to my apartment with rubber gloves and scrubbing sponges in her purse. She asked me where my apron was. I stared at her blankly, because in my eight years in that apartment, there has been no apron in my apartment. If I was a better person, I would have said, “Mom, please, you are on vacation!” In fact, I think I said it. But the woman was adamant.

“There. Don’t you feel better with a clean fridge?”
“MAMI! Ok, I do.”

My mom wonders as to payment practices

October 10, 2008

The usual disclaimer applies to this conversation.

Scene: My usual weekly conversation with my beloved Mami, who calls me every week to check on things:

Mami: So, have they given you any trabajito [little job]?

Me: No, just the Major Group Project? But the people from this agency sent me a payment through PayPal.

Mami: What’s that?

Me: [at a complete loss as to how to explain the concept of Paypal] Uh, well, they send money electronically.

Mami: Why can’t they send a check?

Me: Um, most of my clients do, but other clients prefer to send payments electronically.

Mami: That is kind of weird. I love you!


Conversation with Mark the Bank Guy

January 15, 2008

Today, I had to go to the bank to get my new bank card activated. So Mark the Bank Guy and I had the following conversation:

Me: So, you need two pieces of ID, right? (wallet is emptied of receipts from a grocery run conducted two weeks ago)

Bank Guy: (Flabbergasted at the pile of papers) One is fine. So, what other languages do you speak?

Me:  (completely thrown off by this simple question) Uhmn, English and Spanish. . . Say, why do you ask?

Bank Guy: Because it is on your card, see? Translation Service

Me: (silence due to not feeling very smart)

Bank Guy: How does that work? Do you work for a company?

Me: No, this is freelance. I do some freelance projects for companies, and I have done some interpreting in court. I even got to go to jail . . .

Bank Guy: (turns red)

Me: For work! I mean, for work-related reasons!

Bank Guy: Ah, yes,  an important clarification.

The rest of the conversation was not particularly memorable,  but considerably less awkward. Small talk does not come easy to me.

From PR: They are so last month!

July 22, 2006

“They are so last month!”

The following words were said by my little sister (age 10).

Some context:

  • These words were uttered in English. She and I were chatting in the car… in Spanish.
  • The topic? Why Barbie dolls are not as cool as Bratz dolls.


I am now going to read El Nuevo Día.

"How was your day?" (includes alternate ending)

April 7, 2006

Every day, my husband (codename: Conan) picks me up after work. We chat. I ask about his day. His responses are brief. As a city employee, “Conan” deals with the public every day. Most members of the public act right, but every so often, there is somebody who fails to observe basic standards of behavior. His own method of coping with these unpleasant incidents is to summarize his workday as “Best forgotten” or “Ah, it’s over”. It seems to work for him.

In my particular day job, I sit behind a computer screen all day, with some interruptions to visit the vending machine. There is no interaction with the public and very little with other humans. I translate. I proofread. I read and answer e-mail. Rarely, I get a work-related phone call. The best days are those when I have an absorbing project to occupy my time.

“And how was your day?”, Conan asks me.

What I wanted to say:
“This project I had been working for two weeks? Remember, 51 pages? Well, I tried exporting it using my DVX program, but apparently, I placed the formatting codes wrong or something. ‘Cause it kept coming out at 3 pages! Can you believe that nonsense? I finally figured it out. I fixed the codes, and now we have a 52-page chart!”

What I ended up saying:

A call to Papi

April 1, 2006

While completing an assignment on work of a technical nature, I called my dad to consult him on a translation term. Let’s say it was widgets and the Spanish term, “widgetos”

My papi worked as an engineer for the past 40 years. He recently retired. He is fluent in both English and Spanish, an avid reader, has a “different” sense of humor, and is simply awesome and the most personable person in the world. However, based upon telephone conversations with him, I must say the phone simply does not do this man justice.

DISCLAIMER: Although the conversation reproduced below is based on reality, some dramatic license has been taken. Proceed with caution.

“Hey papi.”
“How’s retirement going.”
“It’s like your sister’s godfather says. People call me to do stuff, and I have to look at my schedule and figure whether to cancel my morning nap or my afternoon nap.”
“Papi, I am working on a document about (subject omitted). Have you ever heard of the term widgetos?”
“Yes, I have heard of it.”
“It doesn’t sound..weird?”
“A little. Try widgetidores.”
“You wanna talk to your mami?”