Wednesday, January 25, 2012

When You're Hot, You're Hot

I managed another "open mouth, speak Spanish, insert foot" moment when we were in the cab with Teré and Miguel coming home from the casino Monday night. It was a little chilly outside (probably around 10C/50F... OK, everything is relative). Our four bodies, in addition to the driver's, in the small taxi caused all the windows to fog up. I said to Teré, in Spanish, that the windows were steaming up because she was hot. Well, I thought that's what I said.

MUCH YOUNGER, NOT HOT.

It turns out a literal translation of the English, "You are hot," into the Spanish "Tú eres caliente," doesn't have quite the same meaning. The cab driver burst out laughing. Teré looked perplexed and suggested that perhaps I didn't really mean what I said. She went on to explain that telling someone they are caliente is like saying they are easy; it's more closely related to our expression "hot to trot." I think it's time to create a little Spanish booklet of things Jerry and I should never say again.


30 comments:

  1. I've also made that mistake, and was quickly corrected by Carlos.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bob: But in Carlos's case... ?

      Anyway, a little knowledge of Spanish is a dangerous thing.

      Delete
  2. One problem though - would a booklet be adequate?
    You made me laugh out loud, again. I love the way you write.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Elaine:
      Maybe we can call it Volume 1. My Spanish (and Jerry's) seems to make a lot of people laugh out loud. Thanks!

      Delete
  3. Ah Chi Wa Wa, Mitch! Sorry...hot is hot is hot! I guess it's time to take a speed course in Spanish!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ron:
      I need to stop doing literal translations of American words and expressions. They keep getting me into trouble. (Then again, they do make for good stories... and I do like to make people laugh.)

      Delete
    2. Jees I just noticed what you were sitting...gid along little pony!

      Delete
    3. Ha! Don't you mean gid along little elephant?

      Delete
  4. That is so funny! What a way to learn Spanish, with an audience right there to correct you!
    I thought I was thin at that age! But hey, look at that SMILE! So there are pics of you smiling!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jim:
      Thankfully, I haven't offended anyone yet. So it's been a lot of fun screwing up. (And I never forget anything once I've screwed it up, so those screw-ups are speeding the process.)

      At 17 (I think I was 15 in the photo), I was 6'2" and had a 28" waist (36" inseam... those bellbottoms that had to drag on the ground)!

      Delete
  5. Mitch m'dear, multilingual screw-ups have provided fuel for sitcoms since the days of Lucy. I say, carry on!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes. And since being here, Jerry and I have had a lot of 'splaining to do.

      Delete
  6. A nice little pamphlet on the slang of the day or perhaps a daily spanish lesson of your readers is in order.

    Scott

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Scott:
      Maybe a daily "How to NOT say in Spanish"...

      Delete
  7. Ah, the 70s come back to haunt us on a regular basis. When you hot, you hot! Keep on truckin'...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Walt the Fourth:
      The photo, 1969. The song, 1971 (by which time, I was a hippie.)

      Delete
  8. At least you've tried and that's the main thing. Both Teré and Miguel know you're doing your best, and the cabdriver heard 'a slight accent in the background' when you said it.

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    Replies
    1. Peter:
      Teré and Miguel definitely understand and we proceeded to tell the cab driver all our other stories of miscommunication. He laughed the entire ride home.

      Delete
  9. Oh, the pitfalls of speaking a language other than your own mother tongue - which itself has its own traps! To be fair to the others in your group, sometimes its hard to keep a straight face when a non-English speaker tries to get to grips with the subtle nuances which feature in our own language. Even talking between Americans and Brits can be perilous, as you know, when we have quite a number of different words when speaking about the same object.
    (Now, I've got a gas problem. I only wish that when the blokes come I had a lift from the pavement up to my flat!).

    ReplyDelete
  10. Raybeard:
    I love the nuances of language. I have family in England. The Dowager Duchess used to visit them once a year and he could never get it through her had that, although a term might be correct and appropriate in the US, it might have an entirely different meaning in the UK. Hence, to their mortification, she refused to accept that one should not call a "bum bag" a "fanny pack"! Even Jerry (from South Dakota) and I (from New York) confuse each other with our idioms (well, Jerry can confuse anyone with his.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Raybeard: That was supposed to be "SHE could never get it through her HEAD"...

      Delete
    2. Ha ha! I'm glad you corrected that one, Mitch. It DID get me wondering.
      Yes, in England it's best to avoid the 'f' word - at least when you're sober. If you're drunk then the hope is that they'll put it down to the drink doing the talking - and move away!

      Delete
  11. As I have said before a faux pas of this quality is always a good chuckle. Faux pas en espagnol est qoui?!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. the cuby poet:
      I'll have to ask someone what the term is in Spanish for "faux pas." I think maybe I've learned my lesson, so will not try and do a literal translation. There's no telling what kind of trouble THAT would get me in.

      Delete
  12. I would buy the book. When are we going to SKYPE????

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    Replies
    1. Nubian:
      It's good to know I'd have one sale!

      Delete
  13. Hello Mitch:
    We think that you are just about ready to write the alternative guide to Spain......'how to have fun in the sun without really trying'!!!! We reckon that it would be a best seller.... perhaps we could write a Hungarian version come to think of it!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. J&L:
      I would love to see that Hungarian version. (And I think at times I'm VERY trying.)

      Delete
  14. You sexy thaang!
    My father used to say, "with legs that went all the way to the ground."
    Were you 18 yet, just need to know which porn file to stick this in.
    ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Theaterdog:
      LOL. No lusting allowed. I was only 15.

      Delete

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