Saturday, March 8, 2008

Universal Language

Once when traveling to Mexico City on a quick business trip, I had had a day and a half of business meetings. They had gone fairly well, but by the time I had wrapped up the last meeting I was pressed for time to get to the airport. I had been kind of tense the whole time, just not on top of my game. After the last meeting I stopped to go to the bathroom before getting out on the street to catch a taxi. Dang, Aunt Mary sured picked an awful time to make a visit. In those days I didn't pay much attention to my cycle and so of course I was caught off guard by the surprise visit and was not prepared to deal with it.

So under the time crunch to get to the airport, I decided that I had better take time to get some supplies or things would be a total disgusting mess. It was hot out. I was tired. I was tense. The suitcase I was lugging was heavy. But luck was on my side as I spotted a farmacia across the street. I made my way over to it.

The pharmacy was small and after circling through it two times looking for the feminine products, I could not find what I needed. Finally, in desperation, I decided I better ask a clerk where to find them. All of a sudden I had a panic attack. I had forgotten the word I needed to ask for the specific product. So . . .what do you do in that case? You describe what you need. I hesitatingly began in my imperfect Spanish "?Se vende aqui esas cosas para mujeres que cuando sale la sangre se mete adentro . . ?" (Do you sell those things for women, that when they're bleeding, you insert inside . . .) I was feeling embarrased to be describing in such a personal manner, but what is a woman to do?

The clerk smiled and reached behind her. "Ay, tampones, cierto?" OMG, how could I have forgotten that the word in Spanish for tampon is tampon?? I laughed my way to the airport with that one!!!

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