Sunday, December 14, 2008

How to Communicate in Russian

I had a conversation with a woman on the street a few weeks ago. Things are starting to cool down here, and the temperature on this particular day was about 5 degrees. Given that the thermostats in the Metro, as well as in every building in the city, are all always set to Sixth Layer; and given that time I spend outside is usually less than ten minutes at a time, I still don't bother with taking a jacket with me unless it is especially cold.

As I was walking to the Metro, a woman commented to me that I was only wearing one layer, and that surely I must be cold (this comment took some time to convey, since I more-or-less couldn't understand her). I smiled knowingly, and said in Russian:

"Well, you know, I'm from New Zealand, and we New Zealand men are notably hardy. Why, we don't suffer from the cold, we revel it; as we feel it to be a conformation of our masculine imperative."

Or, at least, that's what I intended to say. Unfortunately, given my lack of all but the most rudimentary local vocabulary, and my overwhelming lack of knowledge of the grammar of Russian, most of what I intended to say simply didn't emerge from my lips. In fact, the only thing that did come out of my mouth was the distressingly non-sequitur statement: "New Zealand!"

She looked at me with furrowed eyebrows, and walked away.


Cage said...

Lol, i like the way you can make a mundane event like a conversation with a lady (or infact, a complete _lack_ of a mundane event, where you DIDNT really have a conversation with a lady) and turn it into a hilarious inter-cultural comentary. Would that i had a similar ability.

Also, sentance 2, word 4, you inserted an extra 'o', making the word 'too' rather than the appropriate 'to'...

...Unless you are saying that the begining of unspecified 'things' is cooler than you would otherwise appreciate, and are refering to your location as "down here", which -on further consideration- is an entirely valid sentance.

so i respectfully withdraw my prior paragraph.

MJH said...

hehehehehehe... Ollie, you are awesome!