Thursday, July 23, 2009

¿Where Your Up?

In my six years as a bus driver, I've helped lots of different kinds of people with boarding or questions. Numerous visually and mobility impaired riders and even a few with a hearing disability with written notes and minimal sign language. Today, though, I had a first.

I was about to pull away from a stop in Austin when someone came running around the corner, waving for me to wait. So I did. When he boarded, he handed me a card for another bus service. I told him I was servicing Texas State University. He looked at me for a moment and then, in very broken English, told me he didn't speak English. I looked him over and guessed that he spoke Spanish.

I guessed right; however, I must tell you that the only Spanish I know, I learned while working my high school job at Wendy's. So, I can ask where the restroom is and order a cheeseburger. With fries. Neither of these include much for helping a confused transit customer. But I tried. What came out of my mouth was a mix of Wendy's and Speedy Gonzales: "¿Dónde tu arriba?" He just looked at me. "San Marcos?" He replied in the negative. "Este para San Marcos" and I indicated the bus. He understood and stepped off the bus after thanking me.

I realized later that day what I had said. I understand this man's confusion now. I asked him, "Where your up?" or maybe something altogether different depending on local idiom. Despite my lingual weakness, I found the event funny and successful. However, I have decided to expand my Spanish-speaking skills. So, keep checking back. Someday soon, I'll be blogging en Español.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


While struggling through a recent job, one set of books in Spanish and one in English, I found a wonderful web site:
You can put in a whole sentence in either English or Spanish and it will translate the whole sentence.
It translates your question as:
That your up? Or Your top?
Keep trying.