Archives for July 17, 2006

On being laughed at

Recently I wrote of an interaction with an individual who thought I needed to learn to speak Spanish. I wasn’t terrifically happy.

But I’m game, and I resolved to try out my very very bad Gringo Spanish, when necessary. A week or so ago, I had the perfect opportunity, a patient and sole family member, neither of whom spoke English. No easy interpreter available. It’s my muy-bad Spanish or pantomimes.

I tried it out, and though the patient and I were doing okay, the patient’s significant other thought my Spanish was Laugh Out Loud hilarious. Literally. To the point it was distracting, and more than a little bit irritating. Infuriating, really.

Really, I’m trying to communicate with my patient, in a language quite literally foreign to me, and it’s amusing to the audience, and they feel no reason to hide their amusement, to temper their reaction with the realization I’m trying to help. Just laugh at the doctor trying to help their relative.

Now, I have a good sense of humor, and laugh at myself easily. I don’t have a lot of tolerance for ridicule, though, and that’s what I felt this was. Ridicule for trying to speak a language I didn’t, while neither of them would try speaking my language.

I’m a pro, and the patient got good care, but now I’m not really interested in extending myself to communicate outside my comfort zone.