"The Gringo Nod"
I now have a few more weeks under my belt and things are coming along well…… OK, let me rephrase that……I am busting my ass trying to get this whole language thing down. My reading ability and vocabulary is coming along pretty well. The listening and speaking part is a huge deficit for me…..and taking into account that we spend most of our time speaking and listening…..I have a long way to go. Before I share my next Costa Rican “experience” with you…..it is very important that everyone become familiar with what I call “The Gringo Nod”…. The Gringo Nod is essentially when someone (99% of the time a gringo) has asked a local for some type of information. When the local begins to answer the question….there is usually about a 10 second delay into his response before the “Gringo Nod” begins….. Usually a gringo is able to keep up with the opening sentence or statement…..but as the conversation progresses; they (gringos) get hung up on a verb or obscure vocabulary word….that is when the nodding begins. It is not just the nod that is important…..but also the expression on the persons face…..together they make “the Gringo Nob”. What differentiates this nod from other nods is the fact that the person looks as if they either need to take a shit…..or they have not taken a shit for days. Normally when I ask a person “Can you tell me where the nearest hotel is located?”……it does not incite an overwhelming urge for me to start nodding, squinting and looking as if I am about to shit in my pants. However, when I am in a Latin American country trying to translate conversation….this happens to me from time to time. I can spot a gringo nod pretty quickly now…..and I loving walking up to the person afterwards to say….”You did not understand a word of what he just said……Did you??”.
Last week I was in Nicoya and watched a lady walk around asking 5 different people the same damn question….but I could tell that she was unable to translate what was being said. After the response had been given to her…..she politely thanked each person even though it was obvious that the she still had no clue what the answer to her question was. My guess is that most people either become frustrated, intimidated, or tired……..and instead of asking the person to slow down or repeat the answer…they just sit there nodding…...looking like they have an overwhelming urge to take a crap.
Now….even though I am getting better, I am not immune from the “Gringo Nod”…..in fact, I am guilty of doing this fairly often………..and that leads me to my next story…………..
It is important to distinguish the “Gringo Nod” from the “Marital Nod”……..as the Marital Nod is when someone is nodding simply because they want the other person to think they give a shit about what is being said…..but have absolutely no clue or care about the details of the conversation.