My Friend Spanish: Lesson 115 – ¡Jo Tía!

This evening I was trying to make a quick escape to the Dis supermarket, an economize-minded grocery store with about as few frills as you can get.  You’re lucky if that includes a cashier.  The store is actually equipped with three cash registers, but the showy display is anecdotal as two are never manned at the same time.  Ever.  I can be accused of exaggerating from time to time, but on this occasion I am dead serious.  No one should joe about kilometric lines just to reach the counter.  It’s cruel.

     Is the place understaffed?  Probably.  But that’s what helps the company keep its prices lower, or so I am assuming.  The rest of the team is either stacking products, they are able stackers, spying on potential shoplifters, all customers are suspect always, or just making noise behind those swinging doors that never quite seal the backroom from the store front.

    Día has promoted itself as a haven for the budget-wise and penny pinchers, and its lackluster appearance seems to intentional live up to the low expectations consumers have of it.  I go there from time to time when I have nothing to do for the next three hours and brace myself for the worst.  The endless files of impatient humanity, the cheerless service punching away robotically at the till.  Tonight I was hoping to escape my fate, it bein a Saturday evenng, but nope, all the kids wishing to supply their parties with the cheapest crap money could buy were there clogging up the flow of things.

      One pair, two girls in their late teens I would guess, were shouting away about their plans.  It is amazing just how loud people speak in public here.  It’s not really a criticism, but rather a cold observation.  As I held my butter and kitchen towels, a pack of two for just 99 centimes, I was treated to the ceaseless stream of teenage babble.  There is nothing wrong with that, that is the way kids talk, but one word stood out above the rest: “tía”

     “Tio” and “tía” mean uncle and aunt respectively, but in everyday speech, they translate as “man”, “mate, “guy”or maybe even “girl” in the feminine.   They are used to refer to the listener or anyone really.  The problem with the word isn’t the quality but the quantity.  This “tía” uttered her favorite word at least 23 times in seven minutes.  It was tis this and tia that, and oh my God, tia and you’re kidding me tia, and no way tia.  God if we had been waiting in line to flee the country she wouldn’t have made it to the police check.  Just how many times a day did she use that word?    I managed to reach the end and be freed of the this punishment, but I was clearly scarred by the episode.   It would take a long night of rest before I would recover.

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