At the elevator
It was a cold winter morning when I saw Karen Ridd, one of my former supervisors, at the lobby of the building where I work.
“How are you this cold morning?” I said.
“Good. How are you?” she said.
“I’m fine. Thank you,” I replied.
Then from around the corner appeared Ate Ces, holding a cup of coffee.
“Oh, hi Cat,” she said.
“Hello. Early morning coffee, eh?” I said. “I think I’m also gonna need one today.”
The elevator opened and we all went in. And so did another lady I didn’t know. Just before the door closed, Ate Lits came in.
“Aba, ang aga mo yatang nagsimula ngayon,” she said. Yes she was talking in Tagalog.
“Oh, I start at 8:00,” I said.
“Hindi, siyang kinakausap ko,” she said, pointing to Ate Ces.
And then they started this conversation on how Ate Lits had been decorating her cubicle with Christmas decorations, still in Tagalog.
You have to realize now that there were five of us in the elevator. Three Pinays (female Filipinos) and two whites.
I feel awkward talking in my native language when there are non-Filipinos around. I don’t want them to think that we are talking about them. But then, on the other hand,I don’t have a problem with people of other ethnicity talking in their language if I am around. But I think if you are in a business place, such as the office, or a more confined space, like the elevator, it’s not, I don’t know what word to use, appropriate (?).
I remember one incident a few years ago when there were three of us Pinays in the washroom. Ate Lits was also talking in Tagalog at that time. I pointed out to her that there were other people around. I think she said that she didn’t care. She’s more comfortable talking in Tagalog and we were in the washroom anyway.
There were a bunch of us Pinoys that used to eat together at the cafeteria and we talked in Tagalog. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that because it was just us, all Pinoys.
When Ate Lits is at her workstation and she’s talking to a Pinoy co-worker and there are non-Pinoys around, I think she talks in English.
But the elevator incident, it didn’t look right to me.
What do you think?