Monday, July 19, 2010

Does this ever happen to you.....?

So you're talking to someone in Hebrew, and you're catching most of the conversation, which you feel pretty good about. [Insert pat on back here.] Then, suddenly, theybegintalkingveryveryfast. And you are quickly losing track of the conversation. "...something....something....bathroom....something.....something.....batteries...something... something... vaccination...." Huh? you start asking yourself, feeling your hold on things slipping quickly and decisively. You nod, throw in the occasional grunt, but this is way out of your league. Did she just say "fettucine?????"

Suddenly, the conversation comes to a screeching halt. And she's looking at you expectantly. Oh god, you realize, with a fear akin to seeing the Great White swimming right for you, she's waiting for a reaction. She wants you to say something! And you, of course, lost the thread of this conversation someplace in between "tablecloths" and "Netanyahu." (At least that's what it sounded like.) Is she expecting a hearty guffaw? an expression of outrage? a murmur of sympathy? You have no clue whether her dog just died, her husband was promoted, or she's against the conversion bill. Or maybe for it?

Readers, Loyal and otherwise! Never be stuck in this quandry again! Learn the patented aliyahbyaccident Vague Response, appropriate for all situations and scenarios! It works like this:

1. Smile slightly, in away which can be construed as sympathetic or agreeable (and really those are your only two choices, because let's face it, even if she just expressed admiration for Cruella de Ville, or announced her intention to come to work wearing only undies, are you really in a situation to debate this? We thought not.)
2. Raise your eyebrows just a touch, to vaguely indicate surprise
3. Mumble, "Haha...mmmm...ahem...ahem."

Trust me, after two years, I can assure you this works. Contact us if you would like private lessons.


OneTiredEma said...

I THOUGHT that was you, following me around, spying on all my conversations!

Of course, I see you most all the mall, where I have my best conversations (@ the cafes, natch) and the worst ones (@ the stores, where I consistently feel rude because I can't express what I am looking for or why article of clothing x isn't right).

OneTiredEma said...

Oh, I also have this conversation at the park after shul...and then sometimes people sigh, look at me pityingly, and switch to English.

Kathleen said...

I'm sure I'll be needing lessons! Although, I'm pretty sure I'll get a lot of sighs, pitying looks and switching to English.

Isobel Phillips said...

I still haven't worked out why, when I walk into a store and they say "shalom" and I say "shalom" they IMMEDIATELY say "can I help you?" in ENGLISH!!! What is it about my "shalom" that gives me away?

When I do finally get the CHANCE to look blank, I'll feel I've got past a major hurdle!

momzwifeofdadz said...

Gila, please note that once we move there Ariella will not be able to attend school anymore. She will be accompanying us on each and every outing, mission, and errand to speak for us. If you say no to this proposition, your parents will go without food, water, electricity, or anything else that requires one to speak hebrew. thank you for your understanding.

Gila Rose said...

Isobel - trust me, this happens to me too. One syllable into a conversation, they switch to English. "But I graduated ulpan!" I want to explain to them. Oh well.

Momz - we get dibs on Ariella. Sorry.

momzwifeofdadz said...

Just want you to know that I had an actual live conversation with one of Momzrealdaughters last night and they are indeed still reading the blog and would appreciate a shout-out.

Debbie said...

it's the way you enunciate the L in shalom