Swearing in Spanish

My friend Sophie, who’s been supporting me a lot recently, lives in Cuba during the winter. She came back last month and we’ve been having a lovely time. I’ve noticed something quite strange though – when we hit a bump in the pavement and my wheelchair suddenly lurches about, she reacts in Spanish rather than English.

I thought it was swearing, but today she told me it’s much milder, like saying ‘Oh gosh!’ or ‘Sugar!’

Funnily enough she said that when she’s really annoyed (which is very infrequently) she swears in English. But for more run-of-the-mill irritations and surprises she finds herself using Spanish.

Sophie doesn’t seem to get a lot of say about what language she uses when she’s shocked and it reminds me of how my tics have, over time, created lots of different words for pain. Years ago my brain abandoned ‘Ouch’, using instead a range of words including: ‘Mystery’ ‘Miso’ ‘Minty’ ‘Management issue’ and most recently, ‘Alan.’

Funny thing the brain, isn’t it?

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