A few months ago, at breakfast in my hotel in The Canaries, I asked the waiter:
“Perdon, Senor. Tienes el pan sin gluten, para dos personas, por favor?”.
(Excuse me, Sir. Do you have gluten-free bread for two people, please).
“No speak English,” he said.
So, after one year of learning Spanish and multiple trips to the islands, the waiter couldn’t even recognise that I was trying to speak Spanish! I don’t blame him, for my Spanish pronunciation is dreadful. There are so many sounds that I simply cannot pronounce. I’m sure that I’ll get better, in time.
My inability to pronounce simple Spanish words reminded me about just how different we humans can be. I struggle with maths, DIY, Excel, cooking, computers, when to use “me” or “I”, property law, equity law and throwing a frisbee accurately, to name just a few of my many, many failings. Perhaps with massive practice in these areas, I would improve a smidgen. On the other hand, I think that I think fairly clearly. Heaven knows, I’ve had enough practice and training.
Over the years, I have openly, as well as secretly in my head, castigated people for being unable to think clearly. But thinking cogently is something that requires training and practice. Learning to think is difficult and time consuming, just as speaking Spanish is.
In future, when people display what I view to be defective logic – such as voting against their own interests or getting hoodwinked by newspaper editors – I shall be far more forgiving.