In Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series, there is a dog that spent too many nights sleeping in the shelter of Unseen University (the school of magic) and has developed the ability to speak. Since dogs don’t speak, people who hear him usually think they’re hearing their own thoughts. The dog (Gaspode) uses this to his advantage: “Why don’t I give the nice dog a biscuit?”
Yesterday Alicia and I visited a pleasant Hispanic church a couple of miles from our house. As soon as we walked in and found a seat, someone on the platform started interpreting everything the worship leader said into English. An usher came over and introduced himself in English. I answered in Spanish. He responded in English, and we went on this way for a couple of minutes before he finally caught on and switched to Spanish.
A few minutes later, a boy came and asked if I needed an interpreter. I said no.
We participated actively in the singing and the greeting time and the offering, all of which were done in Spanish. Then the worship leader took the pulpit and gave his entire message in English, with a lady interpreting to Spanish. It was followed by the Lord’s Supper (led by a different man), done in Spanish with interpretation to English.
I got the distinct impression that the English was all for my benefit.
On our way out, we greeted several of the church staff. Two of them talked to me in English even after I spoke in Spanish.
It seems people can’t believe their ears: This guy is obviously a gringo, so there’s no way he speaks fluent Spanish. It happens all the time in stores and airports and churches.
I need to find ways to use this to my advantage. Otherwise I’ll just keep being frustrated at how dense people are.