Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Czech 104

For those of you who don't know, I've been taking Czech as my foreign language requirement.

For those of you who don't know, Czech is the language of the Czech Republic, formerly part of Czechoslovakia.

If you can't figure it out at this point, check Wikipedia or Google or even those dusty encyclopedias at your parents' place.

Czech class is hard for me because you're supposed to talk about your life: your work, your education, your family.

My work history involves having sex on deli counters, getting drunk at six in the morning after a night shift at a factory, spending time in a record label office drinking on the job, handling perverted library patrons. I've worked a lot of jobs, each place more ridiculous than the next. At this rate I'm going to end up giving hand jobs to Charlie Sheen for Wal-Mart gift cards.

My education involves writing disturbing stories and discovering bizarre mythology. Just the other day my medieval literature instructor showed the class five-hundred year old parchment made of fetal lamb skin. More recently she showed us vulgar illustrations, one of the tamer ones involving a nun pulling penises from some kind of penis tree. My writing involves alcohol abuse and abortions and anonymous sex and sexual domination.

My family consists of wild rednecks and wealthy socialites and a wide variety of people who aren't even related to me that my direct family has never met. My direct family has difficulty understanding that I have another family that doesn't involve blood, and even more difficulty understanding that even though it's an additional family, it doesn't change the way I feel about them.

It's hard to explain these things in a foreign language when you can barely explain them in English, especially when you don't even know the Czech word for "dominatrix," the word for "record," the word for "fuck."

I don't know how I'm supposed to talk about my life in a foreign language when I don't even know how to translate, "So last summer I got wasted in the office with my boss and we went to the bar and she told me about all the nitrous she used to do and then I went to a different bar with some friends and this guy tried to sleep with me but I just wasn't feeling it so I went home and then my lesbian ex-girlfriend came over and we split a bottle of wine and then she left to fuck a sorority girl and I jerked off and went to bed."

The other day my teacher asked us to talk about who we call on the telephone, who helps us, who we help.

And all I could think of was a phone call I had made earlier that day, asking a dominatrix for career advice.

So when I'm called on in class, I blank out and blabber like an idiot, trying to figure out how to say something normal, something that won't result in a room full of horrified faces and the social ostracism I've been so terrified of since middle school. And I wish I could figure out how to tell my instructor why I'm having such difficulty.

But I don't know how to say it in Czech, so I can't.

So I handle it the only way I know how.

Studuju, píšu, pracuju a piju.

Sometimes all at the same time.

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