I was in Madrid at the weekend. I left from Ibiza at about 6.30 am on Saturday morning. When I arrived at the airport and handed over my residents card the little lady in the check out told me she would only speak to me in Spanish because I had a residence card and if I had a card i should speak the language, I apologised in Spanish and told her, also in Spanish that it was early and my brain wasn't working yet. She then proceeded to give me a lecture and told me I should go and get more lessons even pointing out where I should go.
Once again I did what all brits do and apologised! As I walked away I was furious with myself and her. 6.30 in the morning is not the time to be lecturing people about their need to improve their Spanish.
This happens to me more than I would like, that sense of wishing I had said something but letting the moment pass. Wanting to go back and redress the balance. I wanted to go and rant but I just carried the rant out as an internal monologue within my head. It didn't make me feel better it just fueled my annoyance.
I understand her concern, but she works in an airport for goodness sake! She's going to meet loads of people who don't speak the language well! Also it says on my residence card extranjero which literally means "stranger" surely she should get that a stranger will be learning. Anyway I am not that frustrated with my lack of Spanish skills, I know more now than I did last month.
It's more the sense of "I wish I had of said......."
I guess we have regrets on lots of levels about things we should have said and things we shouldn't have said. In all honesty I probably have more thoughts about the things I shouldn't have said than the things I wish I had said.
I like this from James:
When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.