Don't speaka da eenlish

My skin is brown.

It’s basically a non-issue, and one I don’t really think about on a day to day basis because I don’t have to. However, sometimes there are situations where I’m reminded that I have just a touch more melanin than the fairer folk.

I had stromboli for lunch. Not the kind of thing I could have every day, considering its heaviness, but it did the job. I’m waiting for Morgan, who’s somewhere in the grocery store, getting soup.

I’m watching the registers when the guy wearing overalls walks over to me.

“Hey, nice watch, man. Can I get the—” An announcement over the PA squelches out the rest of his sentence, something about somebody to customer service.

I blink a couple of times before turning to him. “I’m sorry, pardon?”

He looks at me and pauses. “El tiempo?” He shrugs. He’s holding onto two grocery bags and they bounce with the movement of his shoulders. There’s a slight tinkling as the bracelets on his wrists shift position.

I notice the chains around the neck, the earrings. All of the gold jewelry starts to creep me out.

It takes me a moment to sort it out. Oh. The time. I get it. Then I think, ¿Por qué este individuo me piensa puede hablar español? (Thank you google language tools!) I mean, I understand, linguistically what he was asking. What I do not understand is why he picked espanol. “Uh,” I start to bring up my arm, keeping it between me and him. “Twelve. Fifteen.” Even though there are only three of them, I make sure to enunciate each and every syllable.

“Gracias.” There is an awkward, longer than necessary moment, then he turns and walks away.

I’d like to think that he was asking me en Espanol to subvert the dominant paradigm, but somehow, I doubt it.