Wanna Sprite with this Bag of Cats?

If you want to test out your bilingual skills, there is basically no better place to do so than a drive thru.

More challenging even than the telephone, those garbled speaker systems put even the native English speakers to the test. You can imagine, then, what I witness from the passenger seat when Billy orders.

Speaker: Welcome to.. (satellite alien noises)… may I… (static) order?

Billy: I want a number one and a number three.

Speaker: You want fries or tots (excruciating feedback)?

Billy (to me with a panicked expression): What?

Me: Fries or tater tots?

Billy: What are tater tots?

Me: You want fries.

Speaker (louder this time, if that were possible): FRIES or TOTS?

Billy: Fries!

Speaker: (fuzz… gurgle…beep) Sprite? 

(Apparently, Sprite and fries both have a long "I" in the South, so they're basically the same word...)

Billy: FRIES!

Speaker: You want a Sprite?

Me: Say “french fries!”

Billy: French fries!

Speaker: Okay, french fries. And you want a Sprite to drink?

(I’m giggling and shaking only a little bit…)

Billy: No, just water.

Speaker: (The sound of someone dropping the microphone) It comes with a drink, m’am.

Billy (to me): Why does everyone always think I’m a woman?

Me: (Unable to respond because now I’m silent laughing and wiping a few tears.)

Billy (exasperated with both of us, returning the speaker): That’s okay. Just water.

Speaker: But it (screeching cats) comes WITH A DRINK!

Billy: Fine! Give me a Sprite!

Me: (Can’t. Stop. Laughing.)

We don’t hear the total because it’s both overshadowed by the soundtrack of a kickball tournament in a racquetball court and because Billy is over it and is already pulling forward.

Maybe next time I should do the ordering...


  1. Mary B9:05 AM


  2. Kristen2:17 AM

    This happens all the time with me and my fiancé! He tried order his steak "over easy" the other day lol! Thanks for the laugh.

  3. Oh, I love it! Thanks for sharing!

  4. This had me laughing, thank you for the reminder that we are not the only ones who have had this experience. Usually the drive thru means I am leaning over my husband shouting the order into the speaker and his ear but now living in Mexico the roles are reversed. I can definitely understand the frustration my husband often felt now. Is it just me or do you not even hear the accent when your husband speaks unless someone mentions it or he tries to pronounce some obscure word?

  5. So true. I have realized I don't notice his accent. Sometimes I even catch myself saying things (in English) they way he says them. Next step: matching sweatshirts! haha.

    It's fun that you get to experience the cultural differences in reverse. I wrote this post a while back about me trying to order in Guatemala: http://www.alifewithsubtitles.com/2013/04/gringa-with-accent.html. We still laugh about it!


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