Friday, August 3, 2007

Internationalismus

… or the post where Euro-Franz offends absolutely everyone. (By the way, here "euro" is pronounced "oy-Roh," pretty much how a Jew would address Rosie O'Donnell.)

Sitting at Café Angst yesterday afternoon, I asked myself the following question: is it racist for me to call my professor a smelly Romanian? She is indeed from Romania, and my nose can attest to her smelliness especially after sitting rather a bit too closely to her these past couple of days during our one-on-one sessions. And the next question: why am I in Germany studying German with a smelly Romanian? (I guess maybe a better next question would’ve been: why is this particular Romanian smelly? But my advanced education and intellect preclude obvious segues.)

Then I remembered: my morning language instructor is from Hungary. Quick: what’s German for “What the fuck?!?!” So I am sitting miserably at Café Angst—and no, that’s not the real name of this place, but Café Angst is such a better, more appropriate name for the basement of the Mensa, which is Roman-Germanic for "Student Union Building (SUB)"—slowly realizing that I’m here (heute Deutschland) studying German with a bunch of foreigners (“New Europeans,” I believe is the official term used by the US State Dept.; Morgen die Welt! no doubt.)

I refuse to believe that these so-called new Europeans are somehow better or even similar to the old ones. When are the old Europeans going to export their superior "bathroom technologies" to the east? Will there come a day of no smelly Romanians? Hell, why doesn’t Herr Professor Dingleberry just outsource the whole fucking program to the Chinese? That way, my solid German education would be just as good as poisoned dog food without the messy analogy.

Herr Professor Dingleberry, you must know, is the quintessential oompa-loompa kind of German who has a surreal lilt to his perfect cartoon caricature voice. I suspect he secretly wears lederhosen and plays the tuba.

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to accept “feedback” on my German from teachers who misspeak and mispronounce almost every word in English. If I can understand their comments in not only broken but completely butchered English, then certainly any poor slob on the streets here won’t bat an eye when I use the “soft” pronunciation of the German ch instead of the “hard” one. But as the Nigerian woman who sits next to me attested, there are still a few old Hitlerites who appear out of nowhere (history? the bushes?) to scold foreigners for speaking English and/or bad German. Funny how it takes an 80-year-old German fuck to protect the language from a young African and Asian woman who came all this way to study the devil's language and who are simply waiting at a bus stop.

Oh, and you thought the Nigerian woman was going to get off easy: I refer to her (in my mind) as the Nigerian communist because what is mine is hers. One day this past week she, throughout the course of the class meeting, had "borrowed" my dictionary, pencil, pen, and notebook. A question I had never really considered asking before: Can I borrow my dictionary again?

Funny how speaking Polish last night after the concert with Kasja was the most normal I’ve felt since arriving in Germany. Looking back at just last week, speaking Spanish (with a lisping Castillian inflection--I sounded like a gay Puerto Rican--redundant?) was pure bliss, being able to express what I wanted and being able to understand the replies. The people I share English with here are not worth the pixels on your computer screens. Besides, there’s no way I could capture their insipid conversations and “observations.” (Case in point: we see a fabric store, and one says, “There’s a fabric store. I like fabric stores.” Gee, thanks for sharing. Why don’t you save that to blog later and just be quiet for now?)

Widow's Peaks GaloreAss-er!-by-JohnnyThe cute Azerbaijani boy asked me rather rudely in German on the way to the concert last night, “You don’t speak anything other than English?” I replied in Russian that I understood pretty much everything he was saying to the people he had just been speaking Russian to, and then in German I filled out my resume: Polnisch. Spanisch. Japonisch. Suckmydickbisch. I didn’t take it too personally, though, because he’s probably the prettiest eye candy around. When he wasn’t looking, I snapped a few photos of him. What the hell is going on with my fetish for widow’s peaks?

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