Tales of a saint / Cuentos de un santo

La versión en español está después de la versión en inglés.

We chatted on FaceTime with Nick and Alyson last week. Colchester, England to Fuengirola, Spain. I’d say “It was as if we were right next door,” like San Geraldo’s parents said on every long distance call, but I’d be lying. I think the connection was dropped about half a dozen times. Still, seeing their faces was uplifting, as it always is. Since Alyson and Nick are English and we’re expat Americans, I often have to translate for San Geraldo. Nick was telling a story about someone from his past.

Nick: “He was called Jack Hodgson.”
San Geraldo: “Why was he called that?”
Nick: “Because that was his name.”

Note: In both British English and Spanish, one would say “He was called.” In American English, the standard is “His name was.”

Tynan and Elena’s daughter, Paula (now 20) is fluent in Spanish and English (Spanish mother, English father), although English is her second language. A couple of years ago a group of us were out having coffee and Paula commented on how difficult it can sometimes be for her to follow our British and American streams of consciousness with old cultural references. Paula explained, “I feel like Jerry [aka San Geraldo] in a normal conversation.”

Late one morning while we lounged in bed the day after our first Covid Shot, and San Geraldo had a dentist appointment that afternoon, he was debating not going (as he always does). I asked why and he said, as if I already knew, that he didn’t feel well. I told him he didn’t tell me that when we first woke up. He said he wasn’t sure yet how he felt at that point. He also said he would roll over to hug me but he didn’t want to hurt his shoulder (the covid shot). I asked if it was really sore and he said: “I don’t know. I just dont want to roll over in case it is.”


Charlamos por FaceTime con Nick y Alyson la semana pasada. Colchester, Inglaterra a Fuengirola, España. Yo diría: “Fue como si estuviéramos justo al lado”, como decían los padres de San Geraldo en cada llamada de larga distancia, pero estaría mintiendo. Creo que la conexión se cortó una media docena de veces. Aún así, ver sus caras fue edificante, como siempre lo es. Como son ingleses y nosotros somos estadounidenses expatriados, a menudo tengo que traducir para San Geraldo. Nick estaba contando una historia sobre alguien de su pasado.

Nick: “Se llamaba Jack Hodgson.
San Geraldo: “¿Por qué se llamaba así?”
Nick: “Porque ese era su nombre.”

Nota: Tanto en inglés británico como en español, uno diría “Él se llamaba”. En inglés americano, el estándar es “Su nombre es”.

La hija de Tynan y Elena, Paula (ahora de 20 años) habla español e inglés con fluidez (madre española, padre inglés), aunque el inglés es su segundo idioma. Hace unos años, un grupo de nosotros (sin SG) estábamos tomando un café y Paula comentó lo difícil que a veces puede ser para ella seguir nuestras corrientes de conciencia británicas y estadounidenses con referencias culturales antiguas. Ella explicó, “Me siento como Jerry [también conocido como San Geraldo] en una conversación normal”.

Una mañana tarde, mientras holgazaneábamos (Esa es une nueva palabra para mi…. ¡Uf!) en la cama un día después de nuestra primera vacuna Covid, y San Geraldo tenía una cita con el dentista esa tarde, él estaba debatiendo no ir (como siempre lo hace). Le pregunté por qué y me dijo, como si ya lo supiera, que no se sentía bien. Le dije que no me dijo eso cuando nos despertamos. Dijo que aún no estaba seguro de cómo se sentía en ese momento. También dijo que se daría la vuelta para abrazarme, pero que no quería lastimarse el hombro (la inyección de covid). Le pregunté si realmente le dolía y me dijo: “No sé. Simplemente no quiero darme la vuelta en caso de que lo sea.

Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

33 thoughts on “Tales of a saint / Cuentos de un santo”

  1. Sweet Bear – has sentences without a subject (it is too close. what is it?) I change the subject without a clear indication that is has been changed, (sometimes in the middle of a long run on sentence) and leave him with this amazing look of puzzlement on his face. After 30 years, we still amaze one another. How will we ever know if one of starts to lose it?

      1. finlaygray:
        I would love a video chat with you, but I honestly don’t like group Zooms (although I do like David and J). I don’t know why but I find those multi-screen convos stressful.

  2. We watch a lot of British murder mysteries. (Why? because they’re there. And PBS.) We stop the show now and then to look up slang terms. A recent one: “He ran out of ready.” (Here ya go: “ready” is “cash.”)

    1. Chrissoup:
      I usually know the slang, but I keep my iPhone handy just in case. Lately, we’re having trouble with contemporary American slang. We haven’t kept up.

  3. Carlos and I have had that exact same chat:
    “She’s called Irma.”
    “Why do they call her that?”
    “Her name is Irma.”
    “Why not just say that?”
    “I did.”
    “Not really.”
    And it goes on and on ….

    1. Bob:
      We probably shouldn’t let Carlos and SG meet. They might wise up and team up against us. Then again… it would be Carlos and Jerry; we could just confuse them into a corner.

  4. Ah the obtuse nature of conversations with someone you’ve been with for years – Madame Acarti often befuddles me with such things as “y’know, the thingy”, and yet, sad to say, I usually know what he’s talking about (even if I have only been half-listening in the first place). Jx

    PS don’t get me started with “US English” and The Queen’s (now the King’s) English. It’s befuddling how many common terms here are never used over there, and vice versa.

    1. Jon:
      We had a theatre friend who wrote us each poems for our birthdays one year. One of the lines in mine was “Who translates Jerry when others despair to?” My English is becoming very confused. We have only one American friend here. Anyone else who speaks native English is British, so I find myself changing my terminology to suit.

  5. Then throw Canadian English into the mix and really get some puzzled faces, LOL! Like Britain, Canada has so many accents and dialects, it can be hard to understand. Everything from north shore Newfoundland where everything is “Sum jaysus that..”, south shore Newfoundland Irish trill that no one understands, to Quebecois English — “Le Hockey” — to western drawls of the prairies where people still call cinemas “thee-aye-ters”! On the upside though, we still spell properly like the King’s English (e.g., valour, honour, neighbourhood).

    1. Tundra Bunny:
      Yes, I never know what I’m supposed to do when speaking “Canadian.” Those on the prairie can sound an awful lot like SG’s family from the prairies of South Dakota (thee-aye-ters). I figure if I just add “eh” to the end of every sentence, someone is bound to understand me. My cousin was from Montreal. She’s lived in the States for years. She still says “eh.”

  6. Reading here today is a bit like following a “Who’s on first?” skit! Even in the US there can be a broad range of accents and colloquialisms. My southern accent has been laughed at plenty of times.

    1. Kelly:
      SG and I at times speak entirely different languages. My best friend (from Boston) insisted SG spoke with a Southern accent (he doesn’t) … because he was from SOUTH Dakota. I explained to him that the only thing South Dakota was south of was North Dakota.

  7. I can feel SG’s pain in some aspects………Ron has to translate some/a lot of British English, depending on whether he got it himself!
    Don’t get me goin on the Scottish accents! My Scottish ancestors would be ashamed!

    1. Jim:
      Our friend Connor is from Glasgow. Dear god. When he gets going, we just say “what”! I had a Scottish friend in the ’70s who said to me “Al drap your align.” It took me three tries to understand “I’ll drop you a line.”

    1. Debra:
      Photoshop? This is the first photo of SG I didn’t Photoshop. I’m constantly having to remove his heavenly aura.

    1. Mistress Borghese:
      Going to bed early because you’re tired? Should I worry about you?

  8. I would pay big money (okay, a buck fifty) to get SG and Carlos in the same room! Oh the unbridled joy that would give me! Make it so!

      1. Doesn’t matter. Just bring popcorn and watch! It would be well worth the price of admission. I’d need to wear a diaper though. I really can’t tear laugh anymore without wetting myself.

  9. “Paula commented on how difficult it can sometimes be for her to follow our British and American streams of consciousness with old cultural references.”

    Actually, a 20-year-old woman born and raised in America might have a difficult time following a middle-aged American’s stream of consciousness with old cultural references. The continuing fragmentation of the media has reduced just how much of one generation’s culture gets trickled down to the next. My niece went to a private school named Laurel. I jokingly asked if there was a Hardy school. She didn’t get the joke. What’s ironic is Laurel and Hardy were before my time. But of course, their movies played on TV quite a bit when I was growing up so I knew about them. But those kinds of cultural hand-me-downs may be, again ironically, a thing of the past.

    1. Kirk:
      You’re so right. There are plenty of references my younger friends and family members in the States don’t get. We don’t even expect our Spanish contemporaries to get our old American cultural references and are often surprised by what they DO get. Obscure things that we never thought would have traveled here.

  10. LOL — I love these stories, as well as your comment above about SG having a “southern” accent because he’s from South Dakota. Priceless!

  11. Why was he called that? Because he rode tandem bicycles by himself. Because he had sex with llamas. Because he wore purple socks. I can think of all sorts of answers.


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