Thursday, October 13, 2011

DO I Speak English?!

Let me tell you a story about my trip to the DMV the other day. I had made an appointment ahead of time (greatest thing ever, by the way), so I just waltzed right in and handed my paper to the chick behind the counter. She looked to be about mid-fifties. Anyway, after she took my paper, she grabbed a couple of forms and then asked me something that was completely unintelligible to me. I knew that she was saying words, but I wasn't clear on just exactly what those words were, so I asked her to repeat herself. And repeat she did. She said it exactly the same way that she did when I couldn't understand her. Thus, I had to reluctantly ask for another repeat. Once again, it was the same stuff from before. Turns out however, that she was asking ME if I spoke the English. Really? She is asking ME?! About MY English? Uh, what the heck was she speaking? Yeah, boy, did we have a good laugh about that one. Well, I did. She still didn't really understand what was going on.

Now, this isn't exactly uncommon, especially in these parts. And while not uncommon, it IS unacceptable. I don't think that I'm asking too much if I'd like someone (who works for the freaking state, by the way) who interacts with the public all the live long day to speak in a manner that people can understand. And I'm not the only one who feels this way! Even in France, they feel my pain!

According to The Local, France is "...tightening immigration rules to require would-be citizens to provide written proof that they speak enough French to manage their daily lives." Oh, God. I want to move to France. Actually, no. No, I don't. But I do have a new found respect for France. How awesome is that? Now the article doesn't mention that there are a bunch of bleeding heart utopians complaining about this or anything, so I'm just going to continue to enjoy this and be jealous that the French will be able to understand everything that is said to them at the DMV.

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