Thursday, January 4, 2007


A few years ago I had to write a short auto biography to put in a playbill for a show that I was in. I described myself as a retired Spanish teacher. At the time I had just quit working and was 25 years old. It was just a joke. Now 6 years later, with 5 more years at home stretching ahead of me, it is hitting a little closer to home. But a few nights ago I officially entered "retired teacher" status. No I didn't let me certificate lapse or anything like that...I just went out to eat.
I know a few retired English teachers, my Grandma Kagy for one, and they all have one thing in common...they just can't quit critiquing grammar (I probably just misspelled 'critiquing' and they are all fighting the urge to fire off an e-mail). They aren't mean about it but they just like to see things spelled and punctuated correctly. My Grandma has been known to stop her car and enter restaurants to let them know that they have "spaghetti" misspelled on their billboard out front. She has also used a red pen (she never goes anywhere without one) to correct a menu before she hands it back to the hostess. Now I enjoy good grammar as much as the next person but if I have to order "Vael Parmesen" then I will, it just isn't a big deal to me. (As a matter of fact Brian and I used to get doughnuts from an Indian guy in Charleston that sold things labeled "Cocoalet Sprinkals". The name of his shop was even "Donut Delite", which he pronounced "de-leet")
Anyway, back to me...We went out to eat at a new Mexican restaurant called "Los Amigos". The food and the ambiance were both very nice. The decor was very Mexican too and various items were labeled with their Spanish names, such as "Los Banos", "El Cuarto de Ventanas", etc. The door into the kitchen was labeled "La Cosina". Ooops! Kitchen in Spanish is "cocina" from the verb "cocinar", to cook. The verb "coser" means to sew, so I'm not positive but I think "La Cosina" would be "the sewing room". I really wanted to go tell them about it. I mean, it is such a nice place I'm sure they would want to have everything just perfect, right? I pointed this out to Brian who of course thought it was no big deal and said, "You aren't going to go tell them about it are you?" I was really debating for a while but decided that if I did tell them and they did care they probably wouldn't go to all the trouble of painting over that portion of the wall and repainting the words anyway, so why bother. But it struck me that I am just like my Grandma, except that I can live with my own language being butchered just not my subject matter. I guess once a teacher, always a teacher. You just get so used to correcting things that you can't help it, even if you are retired.