It Is What It Is - Fun in Writing 12/7/11
When you look at the English language, there are some really dumb expressions out there. What must a foreigner think when he hears some of them? Can you imagine a conversation with someone whose English is good, but lacks a knowledge of our slang and idioms? How confusing! I can't imagine being on the receiving end. Actually, I can. So I wrote one. This is an exchange between an average American and a person who speaks English, but doesn't speak "American".
A foreign man approaches a pleasant looking American fellow on the street.
"Excuse me, sir. Could you give me directions to the nearest restaurant?"
"You want sit down, fast food or carry out?"
"We have been walking a lot. We prefer to sit."
"Okay. Cool. Best bet's to head over to – Say, you like Mexican?"
"Yes, I like Mexicans. What does that have to do with food?"
"There's a great Mexican place two blocks down on the right. Or there's and Italian place three blocks over yonder."
"I beg your pardon? Yonder?"
"Over that way." Appropriate hand gestures accompany the explanation.
"I see. We would like an American meal."
"Oh, gotcha. For good, down home cooking, nothing beats Angie's Place. It's a fair piece. Up the road a bit. Might wanna snag a cab."
"We have a car...."
"Okay, then. What you're gonna do, you're.... Say, where are you heading out from?"
"This is our hotel."
"Gotcha. Okay, so you're gonna head up to Tenth. Hang a right at the light. Go through the next three lights, hang a left at the Boulevard. You can't miss it. It's a big, white building on your right. Across from the Shiny Bright. Next door to the Suds to Go."
"Thank you. You're most kind."
"No problem, buddy. You have a great rest of your day."
The foreign man returns to his family as the American man walks away, whistling. His wife looks anxiously up at him.
"Well? What did he say?"
"I have absolutely no idea."