Sunday, August 27, 2017

idiot

So I go down to the convenience store in my building to buy some drinks. I see that some small bottles of grapefruit juice are being sold as a "2+1" package, i.e., buy two, get one free. I take my goods to the counter, and as the guy is ringing me up—a guy I've met several times before—I say to him, while indicating the grapefruit juice, "These are two plus one, right?" He says yes, and then he adds: "Your Korean is improving little by little!"

I find this to be deeply insulting since I've never given any indication that I'm a beginner at Korean. At the same time, this guy and I have never exchanged more than a sentence or two with each other, so the only evidence he has that I've "improved" is that I used the English term "two plus one" with him (2+1 deals are referred to, in English, as "two plus one" by Koreans even when they're speaking Korean).

I was tempted to lecture the idiot. I was tempted to say, "It's not my speaking ability that has improved in the short time I've lived in this building: you've simply gotten used to the fact that a foreigner can speak to you in Korean." But I knew that saying such a thing wouldn't be worth the effort, and we'd both end up in a huff as we parted ways. Instead, I gave him a stupid grin and said, "Little by little, eh? Thanks." I doubt he caught the subtext.



3 comments:

John John McCrarey said...

haha, yeah no need to remind the guy why he's working in a convenience store.

On the other hand, I invited some folks I'd met (in the bars of course) over for dinner last night. They spoke to each other exclusively in Korean for the couple of hours (and it seemed much longer) they were here. Well, it's my own damn fault of course for not improving my Korean, even little by little.

Charles said...

I was very impressed with this post. You're improving your English little by little!

Kevin Kim said...

. . .