After going there a few times, I ascertain that the owner/manager is Spanish. One morning, I pay for my coffee and toast and as he hands me my change, I decide to impress him.
“Muchas gracias!” I say.
He beams and says, “De nada!”
I leave, thinking what a gracious person I am, talking to him in his native language. I bet hardly anyone else talks to him in Spanish because people are so ill-educated and inconsiderate, I think.
The next morning, he sees me in the queue.
“Buenos dias!” I shout.
He laughs and says something about how nice it is to hear Spanish. I feel even more superior.
The next morning, I get off the bus and realise I have pretty much exhausted the entirety of my high school Spanish, and within our relationship, it would be weird to ask him the way to the beach or tell him I enjoy walking in the countryside, even though I could probably say those things without too much trouble.
He sees me as I walk in.
“Hola!” I say.
He smiles. I feel like I have bought myself one more day.
It soon turns into a living nightmare, one where I feel like I am expected to display my knowledge of a new Spanish phrase every day. I find myself looking Spanish phrases up online and then writing them down, just so I can say them in the cafe. Within a week, I am giving this man the impression that my Spanish is way, way better than it actually is. I can’t possibly keep it up.
I start getting off the bus a stop early and going to the café near that stop instead. The servers there are Polish. I don’t know any Polish.