Monday, February 8, 2010

Do you speak English? No, my brain runs on cotton fluff

This morning I had a lovely visit from a new English-speaking friend!  It was so nice to have a chat over the kitchen table, and to laugh at the silly things and going's on in small town village life from a foreigner's point of view.  She is a funny and delightful woman to chat with and I'm so glad that we've met.

I swear, though, I had a strange phenomonen happen to me during her visit, one that has never happened to me before.  In short, I was thinking in Italian, and translating it into English!  But my brain was going too fast for my slow tongue, and so, I was just stuttering, saying half sentences, and making all kind of grammatical errors, and generally sounding like I had learned English in some Chinese alleyway instead of in a proper school.  And the worst part was, I couldn't get a hold of myself!  I would wipe my eyeglasses and rub my eyes, wondering what the hell had me in it's grip.  It was like those stand up comics who get dead silence and chirping crickets after telling a joke, and then keep going with the whole roster of bad jokes, getting more and more desperate and sweaty...I kept saying to myself (inside my workin'overtime brain) "Stai calma!", which means "stay calm!" and so...even my thoughts were betraying me.  What has happened to me?  Have I gone over The Edge?  Could it be cabin fever?  The winters are long and hard in this nutso village.  It might of had something to do with the fact that I looked like ol' man Farmer's reject scarecrow.  Note to self:  Get your ass dressed in the morning when you roll out of bed.  If my lovely friend noticed all these dramatic happenings, she didn't let on.   I'm looking forward to our coffee date on Friday morning.  I swear, I'll be prepared!  No more superflous Italian for me!  I'll have my hair brushed! From here until Friday, it's English, baby!  My social life is on the line!

In related news, I have no problem in spitting out long-forgotten Southernisms, it seems.  They pop up in my brain now and then, and without realizing it, I've spoken aloud something that I haven't heard in years.  Case in point:  Last evening in bed, watching TV.

 For our entertainment, Berlusconi was running a Rambo film on one of his TV channels.   I was half- heartedly watching, and really wishing that my husband would turn it off and let me get some sleep, when Rambo basically started shooting the blood out of everything that moved.  On and on, rescue the POW, shoot some more, rescue the afgan kid, shoot some more, steal the helicopter, crash it, shoot some more,  hightail it to awaiting camels (?), and then...wait, is that a missile launcher in his hand?  Where was that thing hiding?  I'll bet it was propped up against the camel's butt, 'cause he sure as hell didn't pull that out of his pants.  It was at this 'stroke of genius' that I blurted out:
"O for cryin' out loud! Someboddy aughtta whop him upside hiz head for writin' a script this crappy!"  Dear husband repeats, hesitantly, "whop?  upside? what dat mean? oh, dat's some of that redneck language..."


Ellen said...

Sounds to me like you have become truly bilingual! You have conquered Italian...or like you said is it cabin fever? And the "Southernism"...great! Now he can learn some new words! Italian Southernism...hhhmmmm

Sara Louise said...

I know what you mean about your brain disconnecting from English. I had a similiar experience while shopping in New York a couple of years ago (about four years into life living in Dublin), I was at the register at the Gap, and I couldn't work out the dollars. Like an idiot I just stood there unable to process what notes I was looking at. All of a sudden, dollars were foreign to me and Euros were normal. It was a terrible feeling.

Jen said...

LOL. Did you have to fight the urge to demonstrate?

Tammy said...

@Ellen...You're right, southernisms and italian don't mix well!

@Sarah Louise...I had the same problem this summer in the States, only I couldn't figure up sales tax anymore! That's a dumb feeling.

@Jen...I swear I was whipping my hand all over the bed, fake slapping Rambo! He didn't stand a chance. lol

Sarah Elizabeth said...

I know this feeling. My problem is that my English is getting worse from lack of use and my Italian is coming on so slowly - very soon I won't be able to speak any language fluently!

Que said...

That's pretty funny! And being from the South, I know it all to well. I do need to brush up on my Italian though.

Stacey said...

I can't help but laugh because I remember just a few years ago you told me that your itialian was so bad you often felt like a prisioner. Who would have ever imagined that you would be there now and your english is what is giving you the fits. haha.