Some folks find language acquisition a simple thing. I know some of them. They just pay attention, maybe study a little bit, and in a matter of months they’re damn near fluent…or, at least conversational. I am not one of those people. I discovered this when attempting to learn French back home. My French is like the Saturday Night Live sketch: “Le Chat Noir”, for all you non-Francophones, means THE Chat Noir.
There are times when not being able to speak Chinese is sorta convenient. Without going into great detail, it can be very useful to be able to say to a police officer, in all honesty (and in very weak Mandarin), “Sorry, I do not understand you.”
However, there are other times when I wish I could speak Chinese like a native; like a local…like a fuckin’ GANGSTER.
When the maintenance guy fires up his gas powered whipper snipper at 8 AM right outside my window, and proceeds to rev the fucking thing: rrrrRRRRRNNNNN…..rrrrrrrRRRRRRNNNNN….. RRRRrrrrrnnnnnn….rrrrRRRRRRNNNNN… as he cuts the grass in wide scythe-like swaths, I wish I had the ability to holler, “WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU, YOU BRAINLESS FUCKWIT? IT’S 8 O’CLOCK IN THE GODDAMN MORNING! IF YOU DON’T FUCK OFF SOMEWHERE, I’M GONNA JAM THAT WHIPPER SNIPPER UP YOUR WRINKLED OLD ASS AND SPIN YOU IN FUCKING CIRCLES!”
Sadly, all I can manage is, “8 O’CLOCK!”
It gets the message across, but fails to express the depth and breadth of the murderous intent he provokes by (a) not using a fucking lawn mower like any other lawn maintenance project, (b) reving the goddamn whipper snipper up and down rather than just cutting the goddamn grass with it, and most importantly (c) assuming that everyone else is awake and happy that he’s doing the noisy part of his job at eight o’fucking clock in the morning. I guess he’s saving skimming the pool for the afternoon when everyone has gone to work.
I swear to god, it’s like some sort of fucking conspiracy. We live in this complex and pay, in addition to rent, security fees which cover the guards at the gate and the maintenance crew. They cut the grass, tend to the pool, look after the recycling station and general community repairs, and probably some other stuff of which I’m unaware. In any case WE pay THEM – they work for US. But for some unknown reason, they seem to work out each week at a meeting that has to be called the “How can we fuck the residents over this week” planning session.
They not only insist on whipper snipping the grass at dawn, they have chlorinating the pool down to a science. No point, of course, in adding the chemicals in the late evening…giving the pool a chance to breathe a bit before people go in the water. No. They’ve worked it out that tossing in five times too much chlorine ought to be done at around 11 AM, so we’re swimming in undiluted Javex during the heat of the day.
Perhaps they think if they fucking well BLIND ME, I won’t be able to hear the fucking whipper snipper.