“Quieres —— Spanish Spanish Spanish —-?”
He looks at me inquisitively and I panic. I have no idea what he just said to me.
I try, “…Como?”
He repeats himself. I still don’t understand.
I apologize stammering. “We just moved here, and I don’t understand you,” I say in gringo Spanish.
He lights up – asks me more questions. I think he’s asking where I’m from.
I venture, “Los Estados Unidos.”
He says something else, and I think he’s asking where – did he say New York… no, Ohio? Why would he say Ohio? Since when has anyone in Colombia heard of Ohio??
“Washington DC, pero si Ohio – viviamos en Ohio antes….”
He tries a few words in English, but my broken Spanish is better than his English.
I try to get away from this train wreck of miscommunication, but like every other Colombian I’ve engaged with – he just won’t give up.
After a few more painful minutes, I break away.
I can’t even remember why I came to the grocery store.