O: Yes, done.
Me: You’ve already done it?
O: No, cancel it.
Me: Can you forward me that e-mail?
O: Actually, it’s already been done.
Me: I don’t see it?
O: I’ll send it to you right now.
I have conversations like this all the time with my supervisor. It’s frustrating because he’ll inevitably become upset and tell me, “Do not misunderstand me!” In that case, does that translate to no means yes and yes means no? I understand that ESL speakers may find it difficult to convey ideas at times because I’ve had to deal with my ESL parents my entire life. For instance, when I graduated college, my mom told me that I needed to hang out at UCSF so I can find a rich doctor boyfriend to be dependent on. I was like, what the hell? All my life, my mom told me to stay away from “the boys” and then suddenly she tells me that I need a rich doctor boyfriend immediately? Something must have been lost in translation so I asked her to explain. She patiently explained to me that “dependent like you go back to school to become doctor and he pay for it.” Oh wait, that wasn’t a misunderstanding.
My mom has been speaking English for the past 26+ years, and I have to commend her because English is hard bitch to learn. Cantonese doesn’t have all the phonemes in the English language (this is why t’s, d’s, and l’s are difficult for Cantonese ESL speakers) and it’s difficult to translate certain words in English so I understand that the inability to articulate what you mean is stressful. My English is pretty atrocious despite the fact that I’m a native speaker and you know that whole thing about black kettles. So I guess what I’m trying to say is that I need to chill the fuck out and be more understanding. Now, I need to work on those de-stressing breathing exercises I learned on YouTube…