Sunday, June 30, 2002

Oh boy, what a week!

I've gotten more cultural exposure this week than can be had in a short lifetime. Working with three Mexican clients all week and an interpreter who is fluent in five different languages. I wish I could say more but with Federal confidentiality laws, I best stay within my broad boundaries. The week, as a whole, was very interesting but very exhausting. My Spanish abilities were bumped up about ten notches but I was scolded by Mila, the interpreter, for my use of Mexican border slang. Mila knows the in's and out's of grammar in five different languages (English, Russian, German, Spanish and another one that escapes me right now) and was disappointed for my total lack of knowledge of grammar in both the English and Spanish languages. She tried, unsuccessfully, to teach me all about idioms and conjugations, both of which are a foreign language in-and-of-themselves to me.

Spanish is difficult. Not unlike English, certain words have different meanings. Take for instance the word "Entonces," which can mean, "then, to, so and even also" depending upon what context it is used. Mexicans are no different than Americans in that they don't always use correct grammar when speaking. Now, picture this: Three Mexicans, all speaking different slang from two different geographical regions of Mexico with some Dominican and Puerto Rican slang thrown in due to the influence of living in close proximity to these individuals in their barrio. Add to this picture my use of border slang and an interpreter from Venezuela who speaks a pure form of Castilian Spanish and knows the in's and out's of grammar, slang and idiom, did that ever make for an interesting week!

An example of the fun in store for us was this:

"¡Qué bien! Se metió en un buen berenjenal cuando perdió su trabajo el año pasado."

is spoken to mean:

"That's great! He got himself into a real jam when he lost his job last year."

but directly translates to:

"That's great! He got himself into a good eggplant when he lost his job last year."

Wonder what that feels like? I'd say it's a little kinky wouldn't you? Do you like this stuff? Here's more:

"Yo tenía los huesos molidos y me dormí a fondo boca abajo."

is spoken to mean:

"I was wiped out and I fell fast asleep on my stomach."

but directly translates to:

"I had ground up bones and I fell asleep with the mouth under."

Hey, that makes sense! How many of us have woken up with ground up bones and couldn't find our mouths? Which brings to mind the difficulty we had with the word "hangover," better known as the feeling one gets the next morning after drinking an immense amount of alcohol over the course of the evening before. The correct term used, "Resaca," was not a term the Mexican guys were familiar with. They used a term that quite literally was translated to mean, "Faded." Hey, I've been faded from time to time, haven't you?

Now, add to this whole mess the presence of different accents and dialects.....oh man! I have a slight southern twang from Texas, with the ability to roll my R's and speak Spanish with a near perfect ability whereas people up here do not possess this ability. They pronounce Spanish names in a whiteboy vernacular. For instance, the name Jesus Herrera becomes "Gee-sus Her-air-ah" compared to the proper Mexican pronunciation of "Eh-sus Eeh-rree-rra," where the "J" and the "H" are silent.

Speaking of accents, in addition to my CULTURAL week, I spoke with Eve on Friday. First, she argues with me about the time difference between South Africa and New Hampshire, so naturally I had to correct her. Those South African's! Geez. Then, she starts in on my "accent" again. We speak for about an hour or two and she asks me about ninety-thousand times, "What? What did you say? Pardon?" Holy crappola batman! Is my "accent" so bad that she cannot understand me? I understand her perfectly except when she says, "Pittles," for, "Petals." Eve's "accent" that she claims she does not possess, sounds like a cross of British, Australian, Irish and a wee bit of Afrikaans thrown in for good measure.

We had a delightful conversation and I put on my impersonations of a Bostonian: "Paaaak ya caa fa a quaaata in Haaaaavaaad Yaad," (Park your car for a quarter in Harvard Yard) and of course a New Yorker who wants to, "Have suum cwoafee and twooak," (Have coffee and talk). Then, I did the Texas Southern twang and the Maniac accent (Maine hillbilly). Eve loved it and wanted more, giggling to beat the band. Then I pulled the rabbit out of the hat and went into my Cheech & Chong rendition about Santa Claus and his reindeer. I'm rather good at this (hours and hours of listening to Cheech & Chong albums (while partaking of some rather powerful hooch, whacky weed, mojo, reefer, blunts, dope, grass, doobie, fatties and the like) but my rendition hurts my throat to no end and I end up in a spasmodic coughing fit.

It's not good to cough whilst talking with Eve as she will end up convincing me to try yet another herbal African remedy that would repulse even a bottom dweller. "Oh Jeeem! Get yourself some Limburger cheese and mix it with some blood sausage, a sprinkle of rotten pork, and top it all with rancid milk and gargle with this mixture for thirty minutes every morning," Eve would say.

Thing is, I believe her.

You see, Eve told me to sprinkle sugar on top of onion slices and then drink the juice that is drawn out of the process. Damn if it didn't work too! Power of suggestion you think? Hummmmm.

No doubt she makes all this up and titters to no end on her side saying to herself, "I can't believe that gullible fool is drinking onion and sugar juice!" She was very clear that leaving the bowl outside so as to gather the morning dew was an optional procedure. Yeah right Eve. Gimme Kentucky Fried Chicken, extra crispy, any old day. *Cough*

Anyway, you want to know something funny? Eve says she understands me better when I lapse into my Cheech & Chong routine. Something about that Southern California-Baja-Chicano accent I suppose.....but, I make Eve laugh and we all know that if a guy can make a woman laugh, he's making some good points! Eve wants to know what she will do when she comes here to the U.S., moves in with me and we eventually marry. Well, I don't know about that "marry" part, but at least we could live in some rather enjoyable sin for the rest of our lives. As long as she stays away from the onions and garlic. We'll have to get to know one another first, of course, and she'll have to learn to understand my "accent," cause I refuse to live out the rest of my days speaking in a Cheech & Chong voice!

Speaking of idioms, slang, accents and the like, have you read Peter's latest post?

"See that wan - he's smacked ootie his heid,"

Jaysus Christ Peter! I suppose I'd be a rather annoying guest in Scotland, constantly asking, "What does that mean Peter?" but if you read on and take the event in context, it makes sense and my having been, "Smacked ootie in me wee heid," meself, in the past from time to time (High as a kite on Heroin) I would probably have understood and wouldn't be such an annoying foreigner. I just have a question for Peter though....

Is "Och" a word?

Seems they use it often in Belfast too, which brings to mind my friend Chris, (Blacktelescope aka Zebulon Mysterioso, aka Prof Bernard Quatermass) who slips into maximum verbosity occasionally and spreads his contribution of the Northern Ireland verbiage:

"Look, he's trying to break that briezeblock into wee pieces!" Sigh. I drink my pint. 'Smash.' A fucking halfer and a shower of glass comes in just over my shoulder and rolls along the floor like a lawn bowl." "They're fucken fallowin' lem, wee fucks. I fucken hate this country, can they nat leave lem alone."

Wooooo boy! See what I have to contend with? Friends in all corners of the universe with such a cultural diversity and such a mixture of terms....

I fucken love it! Me heid is fulla wee bits of fucken terminology. Och! What's a man to do but be proud of his bloody diversity!!!! Excuse me while I go braai my vlies on the spit cause ai'm a bloody wee blitz vinnig and docha fucken forget it! Deal wit it compadres!

I'm a crazy man, no doubt, but I love being crazy, or "nutter" as Chris puts it....Oh, those Northern Irish!

Most of my acquaintances here in New England have NO CLUE about cultural diversity because they've never ventured outside New Hampshire. Some have never left their own hometowns. Pity if you ask me, but then it's not all ABOUT ME. Feck em' if they can't take a joke.

I received a care package from Eve last Wednesday (as Eve pronounces it Wed 'NEZ' day....Jaysus Eve! Och! Mie GOT!) Oh Boy, am I on a roll today or what? Huh? Anyway, Eve sent me a disk full of pictures including....Eve dancing the Tango, the Waltz, .....Eve wearing a Beer hat, Eve wearing a scary mask with an armless Indian eating an eraser in the background, Eve playing hippy flower child and Eve with two of her very American looking, South African white-folk friends. I immediately fell in love with the posterior view of Eve in that red dress of hers, as it is irrefutable that Eve possesses a very nice South African butt. Whooooooeeeeeeee! How long is it until I travel to Durban?

Eve also sent me a care package of South African & Israel postage stamps, a grocery receipt of hers with the regular, everyday items we all are familiar with, such as:

Madumi (yems), a ricoffy tin (250G), Five hundred grams of Rama and of course.....Rkrantz Bwors, all purchased at the famous "Checkers." Eve also purchased the more exotic items such as, "Rump steak, garlic (she eats one clove daily....shades of onion and sugar juice!), chilli sauce and food bags."

The whole package smelled so very strongly of exotic perfume, that Steve, my local postman and fly fishing friend, wanted to know what I was up to. "I'll bet you're traveling to South Africa next," he says. Wonder why he assumed that?

Gimme some rama, a pinch of perfume, a twist of Rkrantz Bwors and wear that red dress of yours Eve and you'll have a mate for life! You can leave the garlic, onion, and monkeys at home though. God I love that woman, even if she doesn't understand my "accent," and can't tell time.

It seems my Guestmap link is no longer working after Peter broke it. It can't be clicked anymore. I will have to replace the damn thing. Thanks a lot Peter! Ha. Just kidding old pal. You've really have to get out of the house more Peter! Reading Peter's blog, you get the feeling he's agoraphobic or something. He has discovered that there is a whole world out there, beyond the confines of his flat with internal roof occupants. I'm keeping a close eye on him lately because I think he's trying to edge into my restaurant review business with his talk of "Seamans Rack of Lamb. (Quite delicious, and so huge you didn't know whether to eat it or marry it.)"

Peter has quite the flamboyant terminology when discussing edibles and potables...."a thoughtful bite of Beef and Ale Pie," "forked their mange-tout onto my plate," "his Sirloin Steak with Bouquet of Garden Vegetables." Shades of Robin Leech!

Meanwhile, on the FIREFLY front, have you seen the latest headlines?





(Illegally importing high-fliers into a low-flier region)

DETROIT (AP) - Shirley, (alias 'shirts') "The Pearl" Peters and Jim (alias 'Jeeem the tranceman') Anderson were apprehended last week when agricultural officers removed the two shady characters in their deceptive plot to smuggle male "high flying" fireflies into an area known to possess a high concentration of "low fliers" or female fireflies. An officer at the scene was quoted as commenting, "It wasn't pretty. There was luciferin powder everywhere! These guys were professionals. We are proud to have finally nabbed them."

Story at eleven......

Well boys and girls, it's forty-seven minutes after eleven, I haven't showered yet, I've got laundry to tend to and it's FINALLY a nice day outside! So, I will end this rather long dissertation until my much admired weekly restaurant review post tomorrow. Until then....

-Jeeem "The Tranceman" Anderson-


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