Monday, April 03, 2006


to Kevin

We couldn't find the nails.

We had sought and sought. We were exhausted from the soughting. Gena and I had been up and down the aisles of Bauhaus, the German Home Depot, looking watchedly for the little boogers. We had found circular Christmas lights, browsed magnetic photo-covers for your washing machine, and finally located hammers, but no nails. And as much as I say I am loving learning German, I am probably just as equally hating the actually-using-it-and-possibly-looking-stupid part. Sometimes it's all I can do to gruntingly grunt out a "danke" or "tchüss."

"Oh, allright. I guess I'll go ask that guy over there," and I was already half-way to the info stand.

*cough, cough* I politely coughed.

"Ja, kann ich Ihnen hilfen?" Not even upwards looking up, the man helpfully asked if I needed any help.

"Um . . . ja, ich suche die . . . " and here I realized that I didn't actually know the word for nail. It was the pause that must have prompted my especially-helpful employee to join my playful game of foreign-language charades. I held up the pretend nail in my left hand and began to pound poundingly at it with the pretend hammer in my right hand. After what I considered to be a sufficient number of pretend whacks for the pretend nail to have been appropriately and sufficiently erected by the pretend hammer, I stopped and grimaced over at him.

"Achso. Sie suchen diese oder diese?" he asked questioningly, pointing to each of my pretend items.

"Diese." (I would hope by this point in the story that I wouldn't have to spend a great deal of time telling you which of the "not real but just pretend" items it was that I gestured to. That would just be a waste of my time and yours.)

"Ah, ein Nagel."

"Genau! Nagel!" and here's where I decided to get fancy and form the plural of nails on my own and try again . . .

"Wie komme ich zum Nageln?"


You know, you have to wonder how Janet Jackson felt in the middle of her "star-studded" Super Bowl fiasco. At what point did she realize she was giving us a partial monty, baring her . . . soul to the a world that was about to dish it back to her via internet review-sites. At what point was it glaring that even years later semi-monthly bloggers would be comparing their own shining shame to her bare-chested performance?

"Um, you don't vant to say dat. Dat is some-ting else."

Apparently in the dialect of this region, I had just asked him where I should go to get nailed.

"Nägel sind am Gang 12."

"Danke," I grunted as we each turned, reddening.

Anybody have a sweater? It's getting a bit nippy in here.



Myles said...

i think i'd get this more if i knew some german. i'll be back in july.

Andronicus said...

either way, it's comedy.
man do i ever want to come to germany for the world cup. Suz, you simply must delight in the futbol this summer, if just for the sake of those of us who can't afford to be there!

bobbie sue said...

Ha! Excellent story, Suz - as usual. When I was in Italy I held up fruits and vegetables for the local "alimentari" man (grocer) to translate for me. Peach? Pesche. etc... Banana? Banana. Brilliant.

Rachel said...

So, did he tell you where that place might be? It might come in handy... y'know. Someday.

Great story.

katiekuntzman said...

Your stories make me laugh!