Apology for when I’m butchering another language

My brother and I walked into the hostel, after getting buzzed in through the otherwise locked door, and I started talking.

“We have a reservation for that room,” I said. I pointed out the door as I said it, out the door and toward the room we’d reserved a day before. And I said it in Spanish.

“What is your name?” she said politely.

“Marshall.” I always try to say it with a Spanish accent, but it never works all that well.

“Oh, and ask about getting our bags out of storage too,” Ted reminded me, in English.

I paused, searching my brain for how to ask.

“Storage,” I said, at Ted but more to myself. I couldn’t come up with how to say that or talk around it in Spanish.

“Storage?” the girl at the counter said, repeating me but with a question in her voice.

Oh, right. She knows what I’m talking about.

“Yeah, yeah,” I said, back in Spanish. “We need backpacks in there.”

She found the key, led the way, opened the lockers, and let us have our bags. She gave us the key for the room we’d reserved too.

And as soon as I stepped inside our room, I realized how rude I must have sounded. I didn’t mean to be rude. I felt tired – I’d just returned from hiking up and down and around Machu Picchu – but I also felt pretty amazing, for the same reason. No, let’s not kid ourselves: my Spanish is pretty lame. That’s why I sounded rude.

To everyone who’s encountered me when I’m tired, even on a Machu Picchu good day, I’m sorry: I’m lazy. I have no excuse there.

My apologies right now, though, are directed more toward everyone who, like the girl at the reception counter, has had to deal with me when I’m trying to speak any language other than United States of American. All other things equal, I probably meant no harm. I might have even meant well.

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