I don't speak Spanish either.
So, this happened several years ago. My boyfriend and I had been in a long-distance relationship for a long time, and we would see each other maybe twice a year. This was during one of my month-long visits to him over the summer.
We’d decided we wanted to go to one of the nearby malls, and had to take two separate buses to get there. Him living in SoCal, it was fucking scorching; it was probably around 100F. For a “delicate” NorCal girl like me, that feels like death.
We’d gotten off the first bus and were walking to another stop a couple of blocks down to catch the next one. We’re stopped at a corner of a particularly long street, waiting for the light to change so we can cross, and there’s group of three girls behind us. We’re not paying them much mind at first, until I hear one of them go “No, I don’t want to ask them! I don’t even speak Spanish! How am I supposed to talk to them?”
This is where it’s important to note that my boyfriend and I are both of Salvadorian descent, and therefore pretty obviously brown. However, my Spanish is incredibly poor [that’s a whole different story], and I really hate it when people assume that I don’t speak English. It’s rude. But whatever. I guess it happens. It’s what happens next that ticks me off. An attempted whisper: “Look, just ask the girl. Fat girls are always nice.”
Okay. Fine. Not worth my fucking time. I’m not even gonna say anything because it’s hot and who wants to deal with this shit. But then from behind me I hear, awkwardly, “Perdón?” I turn, and it’s one of the girls–surprisingly, one that also looks latina. She sounded like the one who’d claimed not to speak Spanish.
She looked a bit surprised, and relieved that I spoke unaccented English. “We were wondering if you could tell us how to get to _____?” Some location. I was the wrong person to ask.
“Sorry, I’m not from around here. You’ll have to ask him.” I gestured to my boyfriend. Again, I’m from NorCal, so I had no idea where anything was down there.
The girl turned to him hesitantly, asked him, and my boyfriend, being friendly, gave them directions. Turns out it was straight down the long street we were on. The girls took off without even thanking us, and the light changed so we finally crossed the street and waited for us bus.
The bus shows up maybe ten or so minutes later, and we’re relieved to be out of that god-awful San Fernando Valley heat. The bus takes us down the long stretch of road, and I see the girls from before trudging down the sidewalk under the merciless SoCal sun.
“I told them that it was right down the street,” my boyfriend says. “I never told them the bus goes there.”