January 15, 2005

You Know...

...I adore Fausta.

I truly believe we were separated at birth because it's positively freaky how much we agree on certain things. We hold some of the same views about everything from Colin Firth being the one, the only, the true Darcy, to enjoying lambasting Blaque Jacques Chirac. I also think she's intelligent, wonderful and produces some of the most interesting commentary in the blogosphere. I consider myself to be very lucky that I have her friendship, but more importantly, I consider myself to be extraordinarily lucky to have her readership, because she doesn't suffer fools gladly. Hence, since she spends some time here at the Cake Eater Chronicles, and her opinion has generally been favorable, I can throw myself into the non-fool category. I am thankful for this. Because---really and truly---I wouldn't want to be on her shit list.

Well, I might make it there with this post. We'll have to see how she takes this. But you all understand that I truly respect and admire the lovely lady from Princeton, right? I made that abudantly clear, right? Ok.

HOWEVER, there is one thing about her blog that drives me nuts. And I'm really sorry for it, but when she responds to something only in Spanish (or French, because she's one of those disgustingly clever trilingual people) it drives me ABSOLUTELY INSANE! It appears she does this to respond in the native tongue of whomever she deems an idiot. While clever, this does me absolutely no freakin' good. I know the content is going to be good, because after all, it came from Fausta's mind. It has to be good. But I CAN'T FREAKIN' UNDERSTAND IT BECAUSE I DON'T SPEAK OR READ SPANISH!

I feel like that damn dog in the Beggin' Strips commercial who doesn't understand that the Beggin' Strips are not, indeed, bacon. Unlike the dog, however, I don't even get the thrill and payoff of eating the fake bacon.

I understand that this is really my own fault. I am an idiot when it comes to learning other languages. I scraped through two and a half years of Latin in high school and that's as far as I got. I would've flunked had I not had mad buzzer pressing skillz during our statewide Junior Classical League, "how much mythology do you know?" contests. (Yes, indeedy. Despite my complete lack of any and all athletic abilities, I was the dumb jock at one point in time.) I also tried to take Russian in college and I still have a four credit "F" on my transcript. A four credit "F" which knocked my GPA down by two tenths of a point, I might add, which was just enough to forever prevent me from doing many different things with my life.

I read somewhere once that it's been estimated that around six percent of the entire world population is simply incapable of learning another language. I truly believe I am one of these people. I've tried to learn. Believe you me I HAVE TRIED. I just can't do it. I sweat over it. (eew!) I struggle. I twist. I turn. I have nightmares, still, about being tormented in front of the entire class because I'd been called on to recite the Russian alphabet and was laughed at because I goofed the order of "beh" and "veh." I'm not going to go into the dreams I have about Latin class. But the point is clear: I am tormented by the failure of my own intelligence.

Even though I would love to be able to speak another language, and am envious of those who can, I just can't do it.

What's worse is that everyone thinks I'm full of shit on this one, too. The husband (Mr. I Speak German) and Mr. H. (another lover of the Germanic tongue), other friends who speak Spanish and French (including one who is a professional translator) and even my parents (neither of whom spoke English before they started attending school) always tell me that, "if I just put my mind to it, I could learn another language." Bullshit. I can't do it. My brain doesn't work that way. I'm sorry, but the reason I didn't drop Russian---even when it was readily apparent that I wasn't doing so hot---was because I, too, bought the line that if I just worked hard enough it would come to me.

Well, it didn't.

Russian 101 was an hour long, M-F class. I felt like a damn dolt in that class. I, who hate sweating, would come out of that class with pit stains on my shirt because I'd been so nervous during it. Everyone got it but me and I was a wreck by the end of the class. My lovely teacher (bitch!), who used to translate for Gorbachev, told me to work harder. So I did. Since I shared a room with two other girls at this point in time (and they really didn't want to listen to Russian tapes), this meant for four hours a night, between the hours of ten and two, you could find me in our room in our sorority house, listening to tapes, studying the textbook, and learning how to write in Russian. I couldn't do it. I was frustrated. My teacher was frustrated. My fellow students, who all seemed to want to learn Russian not for some required course credit, but rather because they wanted to read Dostoevsky in the mother-tongue, were frustrated because I didn't get it. I just couldn't do it. This experience, combined with my Latin experience in high school, has convinced me that I simply am not capable of learning another language. It's just one of those things I cannot do.

So, you have to understand that when Fausta, who is brilliant, publishes a little treatise in Spanish about one of my favorite authors, Arturo Perez-Reverte, and calls him an, "antisemitic bigot," in English, but only links to articles and blogs that are written in Spanish, and goes no further in her English explanation of why he's an antisemitic bigot, it's a bit frustrating.

I love ya, darlin', but on behalf of the monolingual idiots of the world, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE STOP DOING THIS!

Posted by Kathy at January 15, 2005 02:55 PM

Wow, I didn't know you felt that strongly about it! My heartfelt apology.

I'll have to atone, by means of translating Perez-Reverte's awful article, which I'm sure he thought was clever and funny. More on this to come.

Posted by: Fausta at January 15, 2005 05:18 PM

Bless your little heart. Thank you:)

As you will have do doubt realized, my problem resides with me...and not you. I love reading your sruff, so I'm frustrated when I cannot partake because I'M A FRIGGIN' IDIOT!;)

Posted by: Kathy at January 15, 2005 05:41 PM

Have you tried Babelfish? It helps me to sometimes feel a little more "smrt". Aheh.

Posted by: Margi at January 15, 2005 06:11 PM

You did JCL tourneys in high school? Me, too. Latin Lit and History were my buzzer-smacking fortes.

Non semper ubi sub ubi!

Posted by: Robert the Llama Butcher at January 15, 2005 09:33 PM

Certamen, baby!

I still have my little JCL pin in my jewelry box, too.

Posted by: Kathy at January 15, 2005 10:55 PM

Your wish is my command!

Posted by: Fausta at January 16, 2005 09:25 AM
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