If Bravo were going to cast a “Real Housewives of Barcelona,” I’m sure that a former student of mine would be on the show. Her name was Cristina and she was married to a guy who was in “importing” though I never found out what exactly. She had a small army of house staff as well as an executive assistant who did all her bidding and with whom I spoke more often than many of my friends.
The family was maybe moving to either Mexico City or Southern California within the year and she was eager to learn English well and quickly. To this end, she had enrolled her kids at the English-speaking school in town and signed up for almost eight hours of private tutoring a week with me. We spent a lot of time together and were informal, but never buddy-buddy. (It was very clear to me that I was part of the help.)
One of the things she appreciated about me was that I knew the answer to every question she had. When she reminisced about the time she’d been to New York and was in a shop that sold beautiful copper things for the kitchen, I knew she meant Williams-Sonoma. Mentioning that she liked “American art” and wanted to get a book about some, I knew she meant stuff like Grant Wood and WPA murals which she did.
So, I wasn’t worried when she asked me to explain something she’d seen on the street one day. Her daughter had pointed out a guy wearing a t-shirt and asked her mom what the design meant and Cristina hadn’t known: “It was a bull with a ‘no’ across it and it’s… haciendo caca,” she said.
I wasn’t sure how to answer her, but after a couple beats, I figured it was only right to not bullshit her, so I explained that “bullshit” means “to lie” or the generic noun “lies” so the shirt was a way of saying that the wearer wouldn’t put up with untruths. It was the first time in our relationship that she didn’t completely believe me.
I remembered this story while reading a wrap-up of An Idiot Abroad‘s second season (watch it!) and reflecting that, thanks to the genius that is Karl Pilkington, Cristina could now turn to this clip to see for herself that I wasn’t full of (bull)shit.