Gym people: Buongiorno!

March 12, 2010

You may know that I joined a new gym in December. I go most mornings with a friend of mine who lives nearby. We’ve been going for a few months, so these days my friend and I recognize a ton of other members. We don’t know any of their names, so we make up our own names for them based on some aspect of the personality or behavior each one displays in the gym.

Let’s see…Here are some of the people I saw just this morning: Buongiorno, La Chinita, El Viejito, Mr. Chatty, Kick-Your-Ass Lady, Luke’s Fake Brother (AKA The Grunter), Mr. Nut Jokes, Varicose Veins Man, Somebody’s Creepy Uncle, El Negrazo, Victor/Victoria, Escuelera, The Gorilla, Hair Extensions Barbie, The Botox Sisters, The Robot, El Loco, and Dead-in-the-Sauna Lady.

I thought it might be fun to tell you about some of these folks.

First up, Buongiorno:

My friend C and I nearly always work out at the gym together. She is a classic Colombian beauty, all flashing dark eyes and ebony hair. The two of us are friendly gals, and each day we smile and say “Good morning” to those we meet. Since my Spanish is much better than C’s English, she and I speak Spanish with each other, and we never really think much about it.

One day, one of the “regulars” spotted us from across the room, and absolutely beamed. As we neared, she waved energetically, and called out a sing-song “Buongiorno!” This tickled C and me, and we replied, “Buongiorno!” before continuing on to the FM machines.

And, ever since that day, when we see this lady, she tosses an always-enthusiastic “Buongiorno!” our direction.

Now, for those of you who have some Romance language confusion, it may be important to point out that “Buongiorno” means “Good morning” – in Italian.

C and I speak Spanish, not Italian.

So…our friend “Buongiorno” greets us effusively each morning…in Italian. C and I have discussed this at length – there are two possibilities. First, Buongiorno may think she is actually greeting us in Spanish, due to some general confusion or lack of linguistic prowess. Second, and most likely, we believe Buongiorno thinks we actually speak Italian instead of Spanish. This, in and of itself, is not tremendously unusual, surprisingly – Since I don’t look a thing like my gal C, who definitely resembles the “typical” Spanish speaker of our region, when folks hear me speak Spanish, they often presume it’s something other language.

Neither C nor I have the heart to correct Buongiorno, so instead we just smile and say “Good morning!”

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2 Responses to “Gym people: Buongiorno!”

  1. dclark1983 Says:

    you should throw her off and say “ahn yung ah se oh” (Korean for hello). Then throw in “Pagap sim nee da” (Nice to meet you). I want to see the look on their face then!

    • shawncita Says:

      Ha! That took me waaaay back – a friend of mine was stationed in Camp Market many years ago, and I still remember the Korean insult he taught me for “Your mother has no pubic hair,” which is evidently highly offensive. He also told me that many of the locals referred to the soldiers as “round eyes,” or something – which I found super thought-provoking. It was the first time I remember considering my own perspective regarding what is “normal.” Probably changed the course of my life, actually, especially considering the company I run around with these days 🙂


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