Reader to Reader | Essay | Chicago Reader

Reader to Reader 

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A woman was having difficulty communicating with the clerk while applying for a driver's license, and she became embarrassed and flustered.

"Do you want to take a Spanish test?" the clerk asked.

The woman nodded yes and no.

"Here, read this," the clerk said, shoving a sample at the woman.

The woman tried to explain that she did not want to read it.

"Well, if you want to take the Spanish test, then this is Spanish. Can you read?" asked the clerk.

The woman replied yes. But there was something wrong with the sample. For the next few minutes, the clerk tried desperately to get the woman to read it.

Finally, the woman gave in. In broken Spanish she read the sample.

The clerk's eyes lit up. "Ah, you know enough Spanish to take the test."

But the woman shook her head no. Overhearing the conversation another clerk came over to help.

"Where are you from?" asked the new clerk.

"Romania," responded the woman.

The original clerk looked embarrassed. "Oh, well, you look Spanish. Do you have Spanish parents?"

--Ken Jones

Reader to Reader welcomes (and pays for) anecdotes, overheard conversations, and slices of city life from 20 to 200 words in length. Send yours to Reader to Reader, 11 E. Illinois, Chicago 60611, or E-mail to R2R@chireader.com.

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