Sometimes I pretend my Spanish is better than it is. Which basically means that I pretend I’m not still stuck in Chapter One of my “Spanish for Dummies” book. I do this by answering with a confident “si” any time someone asks me a question in Spanish.
Yesterday, for instance, I’m pretty sure I agreed to pay a little more to have tomato on my fish sandwich at McDonald’s. I don’t know this for a fact. I just know that I tried to order the basic fish sandwich, answered, “Si,” to some question, and ended up with a sandwich that cost more than the sign said and that came with a tomato, which I don’t remember McDonald’s fish sandwiches having.
It wasn’t a problem, though. I had a little extra change and I really like tomatoes.
Saying “si” almost always works out like that. People seem to know what I want or need. The dry cleaner, for example, now shows up at our house on a regular basis without me ever having to make a very awkward phone call. Most likely because I said “si” at some point. So does the lawn care guy. I’m still holding out hope for a churro salesman to knock on the door, at which point I will definitely say, “Si, si, si,” and be one happy expat.
Even when things don’t go exactly as intended, saying “si” has its benefits. I’ve learned that I don’t particularly like either papaya or cactus fruit, which I might never have known if I didn’t say “si” to every question asked at the local market. I’ve also learned that you can, in fact, buy more fruit than you can eat in a week or comfortably carry on a long walk home.
And I can’t really complain about the one dozen cookies I routinely come home with when I set out to buy just one since I eat them all in one sitting.
The only time I’ve really had a problem with saying “si” is when I switched it up and answered “no” to someone who offered to wash my windshield when I was stopped at a red light. I think he must have asked if he should move on to the next car because he just kept right on cleaning.
It’s worked out so well that I’m considering writing my own “Spanish for Dummies” book. I’m going to call it, “Just Say Si.”