To be real honest, I didn’t know how to respond (more like retaliate) to this incident that happened to me at the mall. Last night, I went to Macy’s to look at some stuff they may have on sale. I had nothing in mind at all, I just wanted to look thru what they have on the clearance rack. But as I was about to stepped out of the department store, I happen to passed by the handbag section. I then saw this purse that I thought was perfect for my Mom this Christmas. So I asked the sales lady if she could take out the bag from the shelf, so that I can see it closely.
Nell: Miss, could I kindly see that hand bag?
Lady: Just a minute, let me look for the keys.
Nell: Surely, Thank you!
Lady: Are you Filipino?
Nell: Opo, Filipino po ako.
Lady: Sorry, but I don’t understand Tagalog!
Nell: Oh, I see. Sorry, my mistake!
Lady: You sound Filipino to me, maybe because of your accent.
Nell: Ahh, okay!
Now, I’m a bit confused. How would she know that I have Pinoy accent if she’s not Filipino herself? Is she some sort of accent psychic? And listening to her while she talks, she sounded like she had the twang as well. Oh well, I thought to myself that maybe she’s of some other asian descent. Either that or she’s just in denial like some Filipinos I know. Or maybe she really is an American with an accent. Hahahah!
Anyhow, as I was closely looking at the bag; my cellphone rang. It was Mom, asking where I was. And like we always do, I talked back to my mother in Bisaya! We (my sister and myself) grew up like this, we speak Tagalog or English out in the open. But in the privacy of our home or in phone conversations, we speak Bisaya straight up. Now getting back to the story, Mom and I babbled for about three minutes and then we said our goodbyes. But soon as I turn my phone off, the lady said to me.
Lady: Oh, you’re Bisaya pala!
Nell: Yes, I am. How do you know?
Lady: Just a guess!
Nell: You did guess right! But forgive me kind Miss, I thought you don’t speak or understand Tagalog? May I ask where the word “pala” came from?
Without any answer, the sales lady snatched the bag from my hand, locked it back in the shelf and left without even saying “excuse me”. Golly! this lady was rude. All I could say was, “Thanks, but no thanks!” Was there anything wrong with what I asked her? I’m just wondering how she got the word pala. Was it such a crime to ask? Maybe, just maybe, I did do something wrong, by asking her the wrong question and getting her caught in her own words!
Anyhow, guess what I found out about this rude lady (being the nosy bee that I am). Facts I got from her Supervisor (since I filed a complaint), that the woman in question is indeed Pinay; with the last name of Baitan. Now, that doesn’t Filipino at all. What do you think? Maybe she isn’t. (Yah, right) But one thing I know for sure, she’s definitely not MABAIT as her last name says!
In Bisaya: Sus Ginoo! Pagka way batasan nga babae. Wala pa gani ko nakahuman, gilayasan na ko sa panulay. Basin bisaya po sya, gabakak lang ning buanga! Pero nganong i-deny man raw, beh. Aber?