Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Miscommunications

It’s been a long, hard week in Guangzhou. Despite my best intentions, I still haven’t told you about the student-written play I’m starring in, Gristle’s new boots, or my attempts to find a way to say “it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity” in Chinese (still ongoing).

Someday I will find the time to share those stories (because I’m a story teller! We all are, each and every one of us!), but today is not that day. I’m tired. So grab a glass of wine and a comfortable snuggie — we’re going to spend the evening hearing about Funny Things Chinese People Have Recently Said. I realize this now means I’m no better than Margaret Cho. I’m so, so sorry.

  • I recently had cause to teach some first graders how to say the names of some animals and foods. Some of them are not so good at pronouncing things.

    Me: Hippo.
    Student: Poop potato.

    Me: Cake.
    Student: KKK.
    Me: Cake.
    Student: Cocaine.

    I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again: you can’t win ’em all.

  • A student texted me on Sunday morning:

    Ha~ ” Home Alone ” this weekend~oh yeah~

    First, this sounds like a text message my (hypothetical) mother (not my real mother, who is a responsible and conscientious user of SMS technology) might send me, insofar as I do not know what information the sender is trying to convey, nor why they chose to share it with me.

    Second, what exactly does this message mean: is he watching “Home Alone”; is he, in fact, Home Alone; is he watching “Home Alone” while Home Alone; is he currently being attacked by Zhou Pesci and making a rueful reference to a similarly named actor and his star turn as a Wet Bandit; is he worried about an airport mixup; has he just applied aftershave? Not sure.

    I sent back a safe, non-committal response:

    Haha, don’t go too crazy!

    And he immediately replied:

    It’s already crazy enough~I watched anime (the Japanese cartoon) till late night……

    A Chinese version of Girls Gone Wild would be a very different type of video.

  • Gristle had one of those days today where he wanted to practice English. Nevertheless, he didn’t really manage to say much — today, like most days, “practicing English” meant occasionally using an English word or two which, for the record, is not the same as actually speaking English. The one complete sentence he did say was during a story about a woman he sat next to on a plane ride last week. He noted that he was sitting next to a foreign woman and then said in English, “But it’s curious, she was a black.”

    Curious indeed! The case of Gristle and the African Airline Passenger. The game is afoot!

    It’s funny because she’s black, and he has a foot fetish. Never gets old.