A cab driver stopping for a black woman in downtown DC is nearly impossible. It took me almost 20 minutes to get a cab. I was finally able to flag down a fare chaser, who of course, didn't know where the hell I was going and requested directions. No bigge. When the ride was almost over, I asked him if he had a pen. When I was done with it, I said, "Thank you" to him just like my momma taught me. A few minutes later he asked me for the correct pronunciation for the word thank you. (He's from Sudan, btw.) I explained it to him. He was very confused because he didn't understand why Americans don't prounounce the word thank with the "th" consonant blend but with just the "t", so it sounds more like "tank you". His English is very good and expressed his frustration with the rudeness of Americans when he speaks properly. He asked me if he should pronounce thank you like the americans and not use the consonant blend. I told him he should always use proper English even if Americans don't. It's the right thing to do. He also expressed his frustration concerning trying to fit in with American culture and just not quite getting it. For a minute I was able to unwrap myself from my own petty problems and really feel where this man is coming from. I was born in America and have lived here all my life and still don't fit in.

27.March.2004    11:28 AM    

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