A fine day for another multi-lingual argument over which country has the hottest women.
Movement is oddly effortless when it is raining. Riding home from the train station I suspect the warmer air of improving the functionality of my chain and gears, and I wish I could bottle some velocity for tomorrow morning’s cold arduous trudge. But this is not another blog about bicycling in the rain. It’s an entry into my long-overdue virtual diary that you can read if you want.
Dutch class today was fine. Good. Normal. I don’t really remember it, it was so long ago. Oh yeah, I remember, it was an impressive show of patience by my teacher as she tried to do a “word slide” exercise. We each got little squares of paper with a verb in the infinitive on top and an incomplete sentence below. The exercise is that someone reads their sentence, which is completed by the infinitive verb on someone else’s card, who then reads their sentence, which is completed by someone else’s infinitive, and so forth.
It’s a great idea which normally works well, but today my little cohort was just not up to it. Long pauses before someone would grudgingly give the infinitive form of the verb, when the whole purpose of the exercise is the present perfect. I could not believe my teacher didn’t throw anyone out the window. I expected to show my imperfect skills to the Belgian police when I told them “My teacher has just defenestrated the Albanian.”
Work was good. I got a kebab with the Italians and a Polish guy and we told football hooligan stories and alcohol stories and they argued about whether Polish or Italian women are hotter and ended up agreeing that Russians were the best.
And even the work part of work was good. I chatted up some secretaries and nurses, and no one hung up on me all day (although one of my favorite things is calling hanger-uppers back and saying so nicely that pure honeyed niceness oozes out of their phone onto their clenched little chins “Hi, I’m sorry, I think we got disconnected there. Sorry about that. I was just calling to see if…” and listening to them squirm their way out of being called out for jerkish behaviour. Plus my pleasant amiability is contagious, and I reckon they actually go away a smidge happier, so hopefully it is one small point for the Positive Feelings of the world. I have not been tempted to call back and tell anyone off in days and days. I am the spirit of equanimity, reaching out across VOIP lines to a bored and irritable nurse in Indiana. You’re welcome Sherrie-Christie-Janet-Sheila-Kelly.
I was also entertaining myself terribly with a fax or two. I have sent about 468 faxes, and have heard back from precisely 0 of them, so have logically concluded they are an utter waste of time and paper. I am okay with the former, but in order to assuage my guilt at the latter I’ve started altering my form letter a bit more. I think I addressed it to “The Musketeers of Oncology at” such and such hospital, and can’t remember what all else I put in there, but it tickled me a bit, I confess.
But the best part of the day was the wee Dutch girl, who for some reason is calling Thailand, despite not speaking any Thai. She sits on the other side of the room, but her voice carries overhead as she asks doctor after nurse after doctor after nurse about their ultrasouuuuund. I noticed the progress of their accents infiltrating her own speech, and I think her frustration opened the floodgates, so she carries that last vowel for a good ¾ of a second, with a nice little melodic fluctuation. Periodically she’ll say things like “no, no I’m not pregnant, I want to talk to you about your ultrasouuuuund. You are nurse?” Another impressive display of patience.
Now I’m going to bed.
Actually, here’s a totally unrelated picture from last weekend in Gent. Now I’m going to bed.