On Thursday, I took a taxi to work.
Today (Saturday), I was crossing the street and saw the same taxi driver who drove me to work. He remembered me.
He should have remembered me after all we been through…
On Thursday I flagged him down…not knowing he didn’t know a lick of ENGLISH! I hopped in, told him my destination.
Right away he started speeding down the road in the right direction but little did I know that he did not understand what I said.
When we reach the first red light, he turned around to confirm the address… And he did not know WHAT I was saying. I didn’t know what he was saying either. I tried to remember all the Spanish I could remember but my brain was stuck. No matter what I did, all I could think of was the word libro. And he asked me sabes un poco de español? I didn’t know what to say to that. But I thought to myself: Well, yeah, I do but I’m not in the mood to be searching my brain for my poor spanish vocabulary!
This was the beginning of a stop and go trip as we drove through the BRONX seeking good Samaritans who wouldn’t mind translating.
(You must be asking yourself: why didn’t I get out the taxi and take another one? Well, I wanted to see where this trip will lead and I put myself in his shoes. If I was in a Spanish-speaking country, and I was an English taxi driver, I would want my passenger to have some type of mercy on me.)
First we flagged down a Latino elder gentleman who told the taxi driver what area in the Bronx I wanted to go to, not the exact place.
Next, when we got to the area, we attempted to flag down an old lady but I think she thought the taxi driver was hitting on her because she ignored him. And he said Ella, ignorando las and moved on to another person who looked like she was in her 20’s (we were in an area with very little people) who said she didn’t speak ENGLISH. (We had many more attempts but I kept telling him to Go! The only word he seemed to understand).
By this time I was confused. I asked myself many times where America was heading. It’s scary. English seems to be the second language of the country.
Oh, you are also probably wondering why he didn’t use his GPS- He didn’t have one! Neither did he have a phone (Not knocking him for not having a phone because I didn’t have one either).
Finally, we came to a shopping center and flagged down a young Latino guy who was a lot of help. He translated everything pretty well and when he was done we were one block away from the place. I could have gotten out to walk but I didn’t know the area well and we had to ask a white taxi driver who directed us to make a left turn.
Finally we reached the place safely.
When I was crossing the street today, he was at the stop sign and when he saw me his eyes widen and he waved endlessly with a huge grin. All the while, he was speaking in Spanish, as if to tell me in so many words, this is my country, learn my language.
I was happy to see him too. I waved and said: How are you doing?! Even though I knew how to say it in Spanish.