Wry Exchange

“No, But” Part 1
07-02-08, 11:38 pm
Filed under: Culture, Inbounds Inbounds | Tags: , ,

 Oooh, how I hate that phrase.  “No, but…” and it’s friend “Yes, but…”   This seems to be a *Chilean boy thing.  I know we’ve talked about stereotypes and generalizations, but, in my experience, Chilean and Argentine boys are the only ones who use this argument regularly.

To me, “No” means no.   I’ve read that “No is a complete sentence,” but I always give a reason for saying ‘no’ to the students. For some boys, “no” sometimes means “Give me more information, and I’ll say ‘yes.'”  But I think in most cases it means “I’ll whine and wear you down until you say ‘yes’ just to get rid of me.”  Hah!  I’m stronger! 

The last really annoying ‘No, but’ was last month.   Some of the students stayed overnight together in one of their host family’s houses.  It was very nice of the host family to permit several of them to get together and watch them overnight.   It’s tiring chaperoning a group of exchange students,  they always think of some way to escape the adults.  Anyway, my two local students had a ride home. 

One of the students had her hostmom drive them to the party, and then pick them up the next afternoon.  She was a new hostparent, and didn’t want to look like the ‘mean old lady’ to tell them that an hour each way to a party was unreasonable.   The woman was sitting in the driveway, and the phone calls BEGAN.   A more experienced hostmom would’ve marched in the house, and told them to get in the car.  Again, she didn’t want to seem too strict.  The kids started calling me. 

 “Can we go to AWP?” 
“What’s AWP? (Awesome Water Park)
“We don’t know, but Maria’s family is going today, and Maria said we could go, too.”  (Note Maria’s hostmom’s permission or invitation isn’t mentioned.)
 “No, you just spent all night with the family, it’s time to come home.  Ana’s hostmom is waiting in the car.”
“But Maria invited us.”
“NO, get in the car.”
Maria gets on the phone.  “Can they please come with us?” 
“Where are you going?” 
“AWP!  We’re only calling to ask for permission since it’s out of state.”
“Um, no, AWP is in the state.  Why did they put you on the phone?  I told them to get in the car.”
“They thought my English was better. So can they go?”
“No. Tell them TO GET IN THE CAR.”
Maria’s hostbrother gets on the phone.  “Can they go with us?  We’re going to AWP2.”  (AWP is not in the state.  Actually, one of the water parks is 100 miles East of us, and the other one is 100 miles West of us.)
“No, please tell them to get in the car NOW.”
This goes on for 3 or 4 phone calls.  They kept putting other people on the phone. The kids still had no idea where they were going, just that they wanted to go.
Maria’s hostmom finally calls, asking me what’s going on. I explained that the girls didn’t have permission to go to AWP, and they were supposed to get in the car.   That made her happy, because it was a school trip, and the kids weren’t invited. 

That poor hostmom sat in the driveway for half an hour, then she waited in the house for another half hour before all of the phone calls were done.

Oh hell, I just typed out that long story, and it didn’t have any of the ‘yes, but’ or ‘no, but’s in it.  That’s for tomorrow then.  We’ll just make this part one.

*I have to clarify on behalf of P and Chef that not all Chilenos say “No, but.”


1 Comment so far
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You for got the ever popular “Okay,,,,,But”
I’m in total agreement with you. Sometimes trying to wear a person down does work. And then there is the occasional hard headed bitch,,,,,,,,,,

Comment by the husband

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