I work with Sonia, who is amazing at her job. She doesn't speak English...but I don't speak Spanish, so it all evens out.
When I first started working with her, there were communication issues...but here we are two months later. I enjoy the nights we are scheduled together. She makes me work my ass off to try to keep up with her. I'm always at the top of my game when she's there.
There is very little chit chat, as you would imagine. That's a fucking relief, by the way. An absence of polite small talk is fine by me.
I have the routine of my shift down now...and I know her routine and process of dishwashing, food prep and clean-up. Being comfortable with how your coworker does their job can eliminate most communication issues. I mean, sometimes she'll tell me something, and I don't have to know what she's actually saying. I can just react to where she's pointing and immediately know what needs to be done.
It reminds me of the "Ocean's Eleven" movies where the grease man just speaks Chinese but everybody knows what he's saying, and they respond back to him in English. Even if I don't know what she says, I'll figure it out. She could say something like "Estare de vuelta" (I'll be right back), and I'll just respond with, "Okay. Si." I've stopped asking, "What was that?" because, why, John? If you can't understand the Spanish phrase, how is her repeating it again going to help? "Oh, I see. You'll be back. Got it. I thought you said you needed to iron a sweatshirt and then walk a tightrope."
I can pick up on her tone...which is absolutely hilarious when she gets angry at the front of the house for getting in the way of her working. Some of them are scared of her. I guess there's something intimidating about getting chewed out by a little Mexican lady...especially when you don't know what she's yelling at you about.
Server: "Oh, I'm sorry...(to me) Do you know what she's saying?"
Me: "She hopes you and your wife have healthy children."
Server: "What? Really?"
Me: "Probably not...but I'd watch where you put the glass rack on her station next time."
Some people need some time to get my humor.
We have our moments at work.
Me: "Buenas dias, Sonia."
Sonia: "No. Buenas tardes, John."
Me: "Well, you say tomate..."
I hurt my hand while cutting potatoes into fries.
Me: "Fuck. Pinche potatoes!"
Sonia: "Ah...pinche papas!"
Me: "Yeah...pinche papas, indeed."
End of shift..."Okay. Es very clean. Bye, John."