Saturday, December 18, 2010

I Have No Idea What I’m About To Type

Gristle just sent me a text message and it’s unbelievably long and since I read Chinese so slowly anyway, I decided I should just translate it on the fly as I read it and see what happens. Usually when I translate things for the blog I change them a little bit, English them up, make them slightly easier to understand. But, in the interests of authenticity, this time I won’t even do that. I reserve the right to put comments in brackets if I feel like it.

So here, coming to you Live and Unrehearsed from Guangzhou, China, a text from Gristle:

Yesterday your humorous and lively explanation of the airplane neck pillow was unforgettable to me. [Yesterday he saw a neck pillow in our apartment and asked what it was and I told him. That is literally all that happened.] I never expected that you also had an amusing side. [COME ON.] If you apply rich body language to your teaching, the result will be a great addition of extraordinary splendor. [Yes, Chinese people really do talk like this all the time.] I think that beginning language learners really need emotional encouragement and exciting arousals, precise knowledge and scientific explanations are fitting for those in the research stage. Do you think this is correct?

My response is probably going to be: “Yeah, sure. Sounds fine to me.” Which is six words, compared with his four thousand. (Seriously, I just did a word count in Microsoft Office — four thousand.)

But I do not want to respond that way because I don’t want to lose my reputation as someone with an amusing side, which reputation seems paradoxically very difficult and very easy to obtain: difficult because I’ve known him for over a year and surely I’ve said something funny in that time, easy because in the end all I had to do was show him how to use a neck pillow.