Unbagging the Cats 1

Unbagging the Cats 1

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Val's Tasty Treats: The Many Tongues of Val

I let last weekend slip by without subjecting you to a snippet of my WIP. You're not so lucky this weekend. Here's a bit where I brag about knowing many languages:

Hola! I am feeling bilingual today. But that's about the extent of my Spanish. Maybe a few more words, like agua, or caliente, or amigo, since some of my students take Spanish, which is right next door to me, and I can hear the teacher through the wall. Maybe I am quadrilingual, because I know a smidgen of French and shhh...Japanese. Mostly words like merde and konichiwa and bon jour and chapeau. Okay, I confess. The last two came from watching Madeline. (We love our bread, we love our butter...but most of all, we love each other.)

When I was in high school, a friend of a friend hosted a Japanese exchange student. She was a calm, quiet kind of gal. The FOAF taught her how to drink and swear. She went on our senior trip to Daytona Beach. She stayed in our room. I learned an important fact about the Japanese culture. They do not understand the mechanics of a shower curtain. Someone had to show her how to work the shower. After she came out, the next person discovered the bathroom floor was covered with all of our towels, wet to the bone. If towels had bones, which they don't, because then they couldn't wrap around your hair like a turban, and they would crunch when you sawed them back and forth on your back, and they would fall off when you tried to wrap them around you and people would see your dirtypillows (thanks so much, Stephen King, for leaving me with that visual image after reading Carrie). Getting back to our shower...Little Miss Yoshimura did not know that a shower curtain is supposed to stay inside the tub. She carefully put it out. I guess she didn't want it to get wet, ha ha!

Even when speaking English, there are time lines that I must consider, lest my students misunderstand my meaning. Some of them went into the Beavis and Butthead "heh heh" laugh when I read from Tom Saywer. Becky Thatcher wanted Tom to come to her picnic (after she'd made him mad by not inviting him). "Oh, won't you come, Tom? It'll be ever so gay!" They wanted to know why Becky was having a gay picnic, and why that fact would make Tom want to go.

Back in the day, nobody looked askance if you were gay, wore your thongs to the picnic, fingered the fabric before you bought it, tooted at your neighbor, licked somebody to teach him a lesson, collected fairies, laughed at someone's crack, snowballed the kid next door, or ate a weiner or two. Maybe even all in the same day, though the thongs and the snowballing might have been stretching things a bit.  

Times are different now. The language, it is a-changin'.


irishoma said...

I have to admit that reading the Tom Sawyer quote made me chuckle.
Donna v.

Val Thevictorian said...

That was nothing. You should have been there when we read The Scarlet Letter.