do you speak?

Why is it, when another Filipino person spots me in the wild, she will approach me and ask: “Are you Filipina?”

Not that I mind so much that they ask, but it happens time after time after time… almost always followed by: “Do you speak Tagalog?” (said in either English or Tagalog)

When I answer “No, sorry”, their response is an “Oh…” followed by a turning away of their head, or bowing their head. Kinda like I was suddenly cursed. This happened to me this afternoon.

I had yet another interesting encounter earlier today on our cross street, some random dude slowed down his car next to me and asked if I spoke Spanish. I do, a little, but I said “no, not really”.

He had the same look of disappointment, and said, “oh, never mind…”

I asked him if I could help him with anything, and he got all flustered, started driving away slowly, and was shaking his outstretched palm, still chanting, “never mind, never mind…”

I guess I’m missing out on some sort of secret camaraderie by not speaking foreign languages well…