Friday, May 28, 2010

Language barriers, somewhat offensive material, sorry!

This post had to be delayed until I knew Lisa, my sister, was ready to hear her part of the story and both stories are about language barriers and how very amusing they can still be.

A week or so ago, Annabel jumped in the car asking what kind of store would sell a bag of balls.

I can't even explain why my mind went to Styrofoam balls, but it did, maybe because in my day that would have been a requirement for almost all science, history, and math projects. So I try to think where you would buy a bag of Styrofoam balls, which would most likely be Hobby Lobby or Michaels.

When I told her those choices, she said we HAD to go there then!

That was one of those days that 20 mile trip to school and knowing we had 20 to get home, was just too much, so I told her no, we would not go to one of those stores, because there is not one close by and I was tired, etc, etc, the usual mom lecture about waiting until the last minute for school supplies, and your mom works for a living, and she is tired, and we still have things we have to do. You know the drill.

When I took a deep breath, I asked more questions about this bag of balls and why and how they would be used. Again, I am thinking the solar system, or something similar, since she needed a whole bag of balls.

Actually it was for math and they had built a carnival game to determine "chance" and needed balls to throw into cans to see how often it made it in the can or something like that. I realize I really did not listen after it dawned on me that she did not mean Styrofoam balls, but just balls.

When I first asked her if they needed to be Styrofoam, she had no clue what that was, but she agreed they did, but I finally got her to understand what she really needed we had plenty of at home.

So that was on a Wednesday.

The next morning the traffic report mentioned debris in the road.

Grace asked what is debris.

I explain that it is usually something that has fallen off a car, like a torn up tire, or even a stove, or a bumper, you know something that could have fallen off.

Annabel said, "So you mean it was white trash?"

Oh dear. I knew I had a lot of explaining to do.

When we bought our car and moved our stuff from our mobile home, which was disguised as a mini van but easily held enough stuff that it could have been classified as a mobile home, to our new car, the entire dealership came out to watch as we made trip after trip from one car to the next. It was really embarrassing.

When we got home, I told Mom and Dad that we looked like white trash with all the stuff we had in our car. I'm sure that was inappropriate so please forgive me for using that term, but if you had seen us there and seen the trash bags of stuff we threw away, plus all that we took with us, you would have thought the same thing.

So back to Thursday morning.

I ask Annabel what she means that the debris is white trash?

She explains that we had all that stuff in our car and stuff in a car was white trash, right?

Oh dear, I have dug myself a deeper hole.

I try to delicately explain that it is a derogatory label and one that I should not have used, etc.

She actually seemed somewhat satisfied, but then Grace said, "So there were people in the road?"

The hole just got deeper as I am trying to explain that it was debris, debris is not white trash, and is not people, which confirmed what Annabel thought she understood and said that she knew someone in our family that was white trash.

Oh dear, stop this train! I can't seem to win and just making it worse.

OK Annabel, who in our family is white trash?

Aunt Lisa!

I am so glad they ride in the back seat and glad I did not have a mouthful of hot coffee of anything else as I know it would have been spit on the windshield.

OK, so why is Aunt Lisa white trash?

Because she has that baby shoe in her car and sometimes she has a bunch of stuff in the back AND one time she took off her tennis shoes and her socks were dirty.

Oh dear. I wonder if I have learned my lesson on being careful of the phrases I use, as little pitchers have big ears, which I never have understood, but Lisa has always said to me!

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