Saturday, 26 November 2011

Lost in translation


"Did you experience a lengthening of your upper body after your pregnancies?"
I have a glass of wine in my one hand and a plate of curry in the other. These are not exactly the right ingredients for a good conversation about the physical decline that comes with age. But my ├╝ber-slim South African, prospective new friend, asks me very seriously. Honestly, I also do really think my body suffered from my pregnancies, but that elongation aspect of it is something I hadn’t yet worried about.

In order to say that, or even improve on that, I tentatively ask: "What are you whining about, your body isn’t that bad yet, but you may need to look at those wrinkles!"
After that we would look at each other, laugh out loud, delve into a kind of philosophical discussion about global issues, thereafter dance in the middle of the room because what the heck, life is short and we may become friends for life.
But anyway…

My thoughts turn to the bakery where I worked when I was 15. During Christmas time, there was always a huge marzipan pig. The customer selected the size of his slice, and if he correctly guessed the size (plus or minus 10 g) he got it for free. No-one ever accurately guessed. I accidentally did cut off slices that were too thick. Which made the customer to pay a lot of money. Sometimes they gave me a somewhat desperate look. Then I gave them my 15 year old somewhat silly and convincing smile. Showing that I was very sorry that they had to pay a lot, but that they had chosen the size of their peace themselves.
And that’s what pops up in my mind right now. A slice of marzipan pig.

The South African lady started chatting about chemical supplementation that I would definitely need to swallow to slow the aging process. I would like to say something funny about the marzipan pig to put things into perspective. But why on earth can’t I find the right words in English when I need them most.
I can only think of, 'mashed white bean biscuits’, which brings me back to the cafeteria at the school, where they filled cakes with those mashed beans. (And there I ate about a million pink cakes.)
However, the moment when it was a joke already passed.
Perhaps, even better, is that my English vocabulary let’s me down once in a while. Since the combination of ‘looks’ and pigs is obviously quite a sensitive one, it definitely restricts ones choice of friends. 

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