While waiting in the El Salvador airport last week, I wandered into one of the tourist shops. After bargaining for a minute with the shopkeeper over some terrible souvenirs, she informed me that I had a beautiful accent in Spanish. (Nevermind that this flattery was probably intended to make me shell out $3 more for the thing that I was buying). I was suddenly rather pleased and proud to have achieved something apparently consistent enough to be called an “accent” in the language, rather than a random, haphazard string of awkward sounds.
And not only that, but my accent was apparently beautiful! Sure, I have been told before that I have a good accent by Spanish speakers, but this, of course, was just their polite way of saying “Wow! I can understand what the hell you’re saying!” or “Thank God you don’t pronounce ‘gracias’ like ‘grass-eee-ass.’” Yes, this new ‘beautiful accent’ of mine certainly was a major milestone altogether, and that suited me just fine.
I walked out of the shop with my head held high, suddenly wondering if I were some kind of mysterious foreign beauty with an accent that made the Spanish speakers around me swoon. Perhaps I could charm everyone with a mere whisper of “Me podria dar una botella de agua, por favor?”
Yeah, not quite. I think the next thing I said in Spanish to the security guard was probably something to the effect of “Again you need check this… bag? There is other man… in other place… after checked.” OH yeah. That’s hot.