“Out of Stock” or a “Nose Bleed”

Sweet Mango Moment

I’m not sure how most Filipinos in the Philippines respond to questions in English, but here in Western Samar it seems it is easier to not respond at all or risk a “nose bleed.” The nose bleed is a metaphor for having to “think” too hard about answering a question in English when their English language skills are lacking. I personally can relate somewhat as while I can understand a basic conversation in Tagalog, I have trouble conversing myself. Here though it seems it is easier for a store clerk to simply hide from a foreigner to avoid the risk of developing a nose bleed or they may simply respond with “Sorry sir, out of stock.”

My Visual Aide

My Visual Aide

A few weeks ago, I spent over an hour in Calbayog City looking for some lighter fluid. You know, the kind you put in a Zippo lighter. I like to have it available for use around the house for special needs, for example, cleaning purposes. Nothing gets sticker glue (sticker glue is the residual left on a purchased product after you peel off the label) off anything better than lighter fluid. Anyway, after scouring all the stores I could think of, I came up empty. Only a handful of clerks in some stores actually understood what I was looking for and in other stores, rather than risk a “nose bleed”, they would simply respond with “Sorry Sir, Out-of-Stock!” So this time I took my empty fluid bottle with me and received some good proactive help with the use of my visual aid. I eventually was directed to a recommended hardware store and the first clerk I happen to ask takes one look at my bottle and she says, “Yes, we have… ober’dair in school supplies.” (Why do I have this feeling that I should have known that cigarette lighter fluid would be stocked in the school supplies section.)

So in the future, I will rely more on visual aids than my Waray speaking skills…if it helps prevent anybody from getting a nose bleed!  And, as far as the future is concerned, I just know I’m going to dread looking for a “bungee cord.”

6 thoughts on ““Out of Stock” or a “Nose Bleed”

  1. I understand about the language because being in sorsogon many of trips. even when i speak some basic tagalog they still don’t always understand because there main dilic is bicol as I believe it is bicol in samar also. my wife keeps trying to teach me bicol lol…. so far i have kating & ium ….

    • In Samar, the Waray dialect is widely spoken and in some pocket settlements, Cebuano. My wife’s family keeps tutoring me in Waray and I keep telling them I haven’t mastered Tagalog yet, give me a break! lol

  2. Hi again, John,
    Speaking of difficulties with Tagalog, I’ve told you Jessa is from Tagapul-an where, of course, Visayan, is the dominant (?) dialect. She also speaks Tagalog very well so she doesn’t have any problem “gabbing with the girls” around here, but she doesn’t understand reading Tagalog really well. So, when I ask her to translate something written in Tagalog she stumbles badly and tries to “interpret” rather than “translate” if you understand me.
    Anyway, this has resulted in her not being able to teach me Tagalog even poorly conversational. Yes, I understand a very few words–just enough to get myself into trouble. For example, I know what “kumusta” means but almost never use it. Let me give you a scenario I often use to explain why I don’t try to use Tagalog more:
    Just imagine this: I am walking down the street near the congress building and I happen to meet Manny Pacquiao (of whom I am a big fan!) and greet him with a Huge Kumusta Manny! Now, of course because I greet him in Tagalog, he begins our VERY SHORT (You will soon see why it is such a short conversation) with this in Tagalog, “I am fine but _______ _______ died this morning.”
    Now, because I don’t understand who he is referring to, I smile broadly and say to him, now in English, ” Oh, Manny, I am so happy to hear that!” CAN YOU IMAGINE HOW LONG IT WOULD TAKE ME TO REGAIN CONSCIOUSNESS AFTER THAT (I told you it would be a VERY short conversation!)?

    • Sorry, Randy, I was writing e-mail to John Jackson when your Blog popped up. So I just promptly added his name to the message that was actually meant to go here.

      I think I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a multi-tasker, so now I got to prove it again.

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