With Thanksgiving to be celebrated this week and Christmas around the corner, we are faced again with the life shattering question: Do I wish someone Happy Thanksgiving, or even more important, dare I say, “Merry Christmas?” May be, to be on the safe side I replace it all with “Happy Holidays!”
I found myself falling into this trap and buying stamps which illustrate a flower and not Mary and Jesus and buying cards which are either blank inside, so I could write my personal message, or say, ” Happy Holidays!” Well, this year I solved the problem, I’m cutting no more trees, I am NOT sending any cards. The money spend on cards could go to Salvation Army and help the poor regardless of which “holiday” they celebrate
I was already aggravated by the “Happy Holidays” dilemma, when I have noticed another general effort to make our society “politically correct.”
When I dial any commercial company I have the choice to press 1 for Spanish, which I don’t, because I don’t need the service. Last week I called my health insurance company to compare health plans. After going through all the computarized Aunt Judy’s of the world who, in a calm voice stated over and over “may be I could help you?” “Did you say…” No, no no please, I scream in a voice that makes Judy stop for a second, ” I NEED to speak to a HUMAN!”
At last I get a human. He is polite. I explain what I need, he responds back and we converse in ENGLISH for at least five minutes, and I explain to him in detail my complex needs: I need to pay less for my health insurance! As we are in the mist of the conversation, speaking in ENGLISH, suddenly he probably remembers the company’s training and asks me: “Do you need a translator, or are you comfortable speaking in English?”
I am speechless! We have been speaking in English for a while. I stated my needs, he replied. What does this mean, that some people are so brain-washed that they dare not use common sense to judge:
If this person and I SPOKE in English for a while, clearly she speaks and understands English! If she didn’t, HOW would she even understand my asking, ‘do you need a translator?’ asked in ENGLISH?
As millions other American citizens, I have an accent because I came to the U.S in my twenties. I also hold a B.A. in English and Romanian and am a translator. I also hold a M.S. in Counseling and Clinical Psychology from an accredited U.S. college, I am a publish author in English… I consider myself bilingual. If I didn’t speak English, I would have pressed ONE for Spanish which is spoken in Spanish by the computer voice at the beginning of the menu.
Why do we assume? I might be comfortable speaking Mandarin…
I am wondering what would he have done if I asked for a translator in the Mandarin language?
I applaud the idea of politeness, of being aware of everyone’s needs but isn’t it taking it too far? After all we made a choice to be in America, perhaps it would be nice to make an extra effort and learn the language of the land?
Perhaps, if I have a cross as a necklace and I converse with someone in English for a while, “the assumption” could be, this person is a Christian, so wishing “Merry Christmas,” is appropriate, and if she spoke with me in English for ten minutes, it is okay to “assume,” the person does not need a translator.
In conclusion: People use your brains!
Oh! Happy Holidays”:) EVERYONE!