I once spent a summer working on an archaeological
dig (don't ask). We were a mixed bunch - Israeli
s, Americans, Canadians, Germans, and a large group of Spanish
students, with whom we all hit it off rather well. I was the only non-Spanish person stuck in a ditch
with about ten of them, so I quickly learned a basic selection of useful phrases, as well as tuned my ear to eavesdrop to such a degree they were calling me "antenna parabolica
" before the month was out.
My confidence, however, occasionally got too much for them. Among the more amusing incidents involves myself, a rather high wall I was standing on, and an innocent young man by the name of Daniel. You see, we were excavating a house, and as we dug deeper the walls became taller, to the point where it was impractical to clamber over them every time you wanted to borrow or return a tool. A quick look through a phrase book informed me of the correct Spanish idiom for "catch!".
So anyway, one fine morning I am standing on the aforementioned rather high and wobbly wall, and I find myself in something of a fix for getting off it. Daniel, who was working with, is standing in the "room" below waiting for me to join him. So I take my courage in both hands and prepare to jump down, not before taking the precaution of turning to him and crying "catch me!" in what I thought was perfectly serviceable Spanish.
All work stopped. People first stared in astonishment and then creased up in superior laughter. Daniel, poor Catholic soul, is redder than red, arms to his sides, looking torn between shock and amusement. You see, I had just yelled for him to "take me!" for the entire site to hear, and he wasn't sure how to politely decline without causing offence...