• Erin Griffith

Limited English, Not Deaf

So I was at the BMV the other day waiting to renew my drivers license when I heard one of the ladies working raising her voice to a poor lady who clearly had a limited grasp of the English language. She was literally yelling "HOW MUCH DO YOU WEIGH?" "YOUR WEIGHT!" "THE COLOR OF YOUR EYES!" "WHAT COLOR ARE YOUR EYES?!" and the poor woman was just flummoxed. Luckily her husband was standing next to her and quietly interpreting for her. I really just wanted to go up the the BMV lady and say...she's from another country, not deaf, you moron!

I realize that working at the BMV is a crappy job and is probably really frustrating, but there is never a need to treat people like that; especially considering how complicated learning English is in the first place. In america we are all like "Speak english or get out!" But our current "American" English is a hodge podge cluster-fuck of Latin, German, Italian, French, Spanish and all of the other languages that are part of our melting pot culture. So trying to learn "American" English is like trying to smell the number Q. We are still learning to read and write our language after 13 years of compulsory education! Quite frankly, we are lucky that the large population of non native speakers that we have in Ohio has mastered the language as well as they have.

Anyway, I am trying to kill people with kindness instead of just killing them, so I kept my mouth shut and smiled at the wench when it was my turn. But I made it one of those too bright, too bubbly smiles that makes people uncomfortable. Like the kind of smile where people are unsure whether you are just really happy or that you are about to go for their neck. And I was just syrupy sweet to her...enough to make her shift in her seat with unease. A southern accent would have been the icing on my discomfort cake. But I can't really fake a good southern accent, so I refrained.

Anyway. I made her uncomfortable. So that was my revenge for her slight on the poor non English speaking lady. Not that exciting, but still satisfying for me.

The "Golden Rule"


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