Language Lesson

By W.R. Jones


    After I placed my easel, squeezed out the paints, and picked my composition, a hispanic male drove a tractor pulling a wagon with two of those outdoor bathrooms on top, directly in front of my view.  He then turned off the engine and dismounted.  When politely asked if he would mind moving a bit further he waved his hand and replied, “diez minutos.”

    Many people take Spanish in school.  You can hear them say things like, “roho or lapiz”.   Some people buy CDs and listen to the new language while they drive and talk on the phone.  They talk on the phone in their native language, not listening to the CD, and so are effectively pissing away their time.

    The natural way to learn a language is as a child learns it.  Listen to the words then observe the actions to firmly implant the meaning of those words in that word area of your brain.   Using this natural learning technique I determined that “diez minutos” means one of the following:

      1.  More than an hour

      2.  When I feel like moving

      3.  Paint somewhere else grandpa 

This entry was posted in Humor, Landscape, Painting, Plein Air, Writing. Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Language Lesson

  1. Try “ten minutes” (or, maybe that was “all of the above!”). :lol:

  2. Carol King says:

    Sounds like he didn’t mean a literal diez minutos. But you wouldn’t have liked it if he told you dos horas or callete viejo.
    Funny post, nice painting.

  3. wrjones says:

    All of the above would be a good candidate, Janet. I should have just packed up and gone to hang out with you where you are not taking pictures. You must be doing something enjoyable.

    Carol, even though my second language skills are second rate, if he had said dos horas I would have instinctually known to take a siesta.

  4. gypsy-heart says:

    This happened to an artist on this last trip to Italy. Out of all the grounds and area they seemed to always pull up in a little delivery car and park it between her and whatever she was painting!

    I did not have that problem since as you know I left everyone …I did have some people on horseback come by, but thank goodness they kept moving.

    This painting is one of my favorites so far…makes me want to go there!

    Thank you for making me laugh again…I needed it tonight!!

  5. 100swallows says:

    I bet you didn’t talk long enough with the guy, Bill, to impress upon him your predicament. It is a mistake to suppose that he will put himself in your situation or that he will be nice for reasons of politeness. That man was probably not brought up to help or even pay attention to people he didn’t know–only himself and his family. If you had explained to him about the trouble you had gone to to set yourself up there and shown him that by moving a little, just a little, he would save you (and that you would be grateful), he would have moved, sure. Make him think he’s doing something almost saintly, see. But it takes talking. Diez minutos?

  6. E. Warren says:

    Aint anything like a little communication to get what ya want. Last summer I was out to do the plein air thing and I, like you, had found this most excellent small farm to paint. I set up by the roadside hoping to not interfere with the goings on but the farmer took exception to my being there. He wasted no time telling me (and not very kindly) where I could and could not be and how brainless I had been to set up by the roadside. It was at that time I communicated he should call a cop. So he did. I was so bent out of shape there was no use in trying to do anywork so I drug up and moved down the road a few miles. A while later the local sherrif passed by and, slowing down, gave me a long once over. He got my best “mental finger”.

  7. wrjones says:

    Gypsy – You could be in the thick of it if you wanted. I don’t think the application for picking strawberries is too complex. However, it may be in Spanish. Just let me know when you are coming to CA and I will arrange an interview for you; no thanks necessary.

    100swallows – I tried to get him to think of me as family. I told him I was known as Guillermo El Magnifico; he threw a strawberry at me. Come to think of it, that is how my family treats me.

    E. Warren – It would be hard to paint after a serious confrontation. I think you were wise to stick with the “mental” finger.

    I’ve had teenagers drive by throwing bottles and cursing which is a bit unnerving. I may just start carrying a handgun. Still, I suppose I’m safer out painting than being a student.

  8. grfxho says:

    I think a more effective approach to getting what you want would be some reverse psychology. Exclaim about how perfect he is and turn your whole set up to focus on him. Get close and study his face; do a quick sketch and yell that he must not move a muscle!

    (Please learn that phrase for next time, it may take some practice and rolling of r’s–my Spanish skills are diminished at this point.)

    One of two things will happen. Either he will be so unnerved and think you are completely loco and leave at once (problem solved!) or he will begin to preen and pose and you will get a great portrait painting with one hell of a story to go with it.

    I suppose there’s a third option that involves you being assaulted by him and his coworkers because you accidentally insulted his mother in your mangled Spanish… but I prefer to look at the silver-lining options only.

  9. wrjones says:

    Well, we are back from our grand tour of Europe, are we.

    I think you should take the next plane out here to be my translator. I have this vision of us ending up IN the painting bent over, picking strawberries, and using our best Spanish, “Claro que si, jefe.”

    You’re going to have to help me fill my basket. Better yet, I’ll just wait for you at the end of the row.

  10. kevmoore says:

    I wouldn’t want to tar all hispanics with the same (paint)brush, but certainly in Spain, the indigenous population haven’t the faintest concept of “real-time” diez minutos. It seems to me their maxim is generally “it doesn’t matter, and I don’t care anyway”. This applies to parking and driving particularly, and the woman in Albir Post office specifically. It’s often tempting to succumb to basic insults in an attempt to get some kind of response, such as “Hoy! Por favor, Hijo de Puta!” – but this is best delivered wearing some form of protective clothing, or in the case of Columbians, a bullet-proof vest.
    DISCLAIMER: No Columbians were harmed during the making of this comment.

  11. grfxho says:

    I wish it had been a tour of Europe… Instead it was just Job Hell and Home Crisis.

  12. wrjones says:

    I’ll take Europe. There are drugs available to handle both of you problem areas. You simply have to drink enough water. This should lower your blood pressure, and fix any disfunction you might encounter. You may find yourself peeing alot, however. This is referred to as a side effect. I’m up to 50 gallons a day to get my buzz. I’m on the toilet most of the day.

  13. wrjones says:

    Kev – give me that woman’s name. I’ll speak to her about giving you better service. Or you can wait until we are able to email packages and the post office will close leaving her all the time she wants to do nothing. Damn, that sounds good, I think I’ll join her.

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