My neighbors Wanda June and Leonard worry about senility, and if truth be known, they have reason for some of those worries. They watch Dr. Oz religiously and have taken to drinking some kind of green sludge as a preventative. In addition, Leonard is doing Sudoku puzzles, and Wanda June has spent a lot of time doing the Jumble puzzle in the paper. They have managed to keep down the green sludge three days in a row; Leonard finished a whole book of the puzzles; and Wanda June has stopped calling me for help with five letter words. I’m not sure I’d call that success.
It still has Leonard spooked, so last week, he decided he’d put that new smart phone of his to some good use, and he downloaded an application to learn Spanish. I was proud of him for mastering the purchasing operation, but Wanda June admitted later, that he stopped the postman and got a little help. I don’t think the postman would have stopped, except for the fact that Leonard was standing in the middle of the street … looking lost.
He showed me the program. It’s cute. With fifty levels of learning, the game will probably keep Leonard busy for quite some time. It starts off with colors and numbers, and Leonard took to that quickly. He learned to count in Spanish back in grade school, but it seems they’ve changed the pronunciation a bit. He was pretty sure that the only difference between the word for six and the word for seven was the “d” on the end. Sometime in the last fifty years, they changed “sis” to “seis” … and “sisid” to “siete.” Leonard looked it up on the internet to be sure the game was right.
“I don’t want to get down there to Brazil and find out that I’m buying six tacos when I want seven.” I assured him that he’d not confuse anyone in Brazil … since the language in Brazil is Portuguese. He looked that up, too.
Over coffee that morning, Wanda June and I were interrupted several times with comments about the color of the coffee … “café,” the color of my hair … “gris,”(That got a big laugh since it is pronounced grease.) and informed us that we had no idea what the word for “red hair” was. “Roho,” I guessed using my best Dora the Explorer terminology. He rolled his eyes. “Pellirrojo,” he said, “I knew you didn’t know.”
Leonard doesn’t have the pronunciation down exactly. His double l’s are sounded separately, his j’s sound like g’s, and his r’s are giving him a little trouble. Might I say that Leonard’s hearing isn’t too good, so even though the program pronounces the words, he doesn’t always hear them as spoken.
Their daughter called and we heard Leonard answer the phone. “Hollar, my choo choo,” he said, and laughed. I think his daughter must have hung up on him, thinking he was drunk.
Wanda June shook her head. “He just needs to speak English, and if he wants to speak a foreign language, he could try to speak it with a British accent.” That should work. I hear a lot of British people visit Brazil.