blue moon (2)

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Basic English ©

I’m still here but not.
I’m lost in a powdered haze.
Yup, I’m snorting plaster dust and crapping out drywall.
Damn that would hurt, especially the screws.
I am hoping to be done by Friday and rest.
The wallpaper was a bitch to get off.
I had to soak it with dish soap and hot water to soften the rest off and then it just peeled off like a stripper on a dance floor.
I hope to be able to get to your blogs by the weekend.

I went out today and picked up the rest of the things I will need to finish this job and I decided to install a light in there because it’s so high and deep it gets pretty dark back there and as Susan commented, who knows what I may have set loose from the depths of that dust and web cover dungeon I broke into.

While at Home Depot looking for everything I wanted, I pasted a Greek couple looking for something and reading the packages the best they could.
I offered to help them fond what they were looking for and we got to talking about other things.
It seems they know my parents and have been in Canada just as long.

These are typical immigrants from my parent’s time.
They came to this country and moved into areas occupied by other immigrants from the same country.
In some ways this is good and in others it’s not.
For example, they never learned to read, write or speak the language and for the most part they didn’t need to because they lived in neighborhoods filled with their own kind and worked for people that spoke their language, so why bother learn to speak English.
Besides they were planning to go back as soon as they made their fortune anyway, so who cares?

90% of them never move back to the old country, sure they go there for a visit for a couple of months maybe three but in the end there is something that draws them back to Canada.
It’s not the snow because I tell yeah; you can have it if you want it.
I don’t think it’s their kids because it is gorgeous in Greece and they could phone and talk to them.
It’s the cable.
They stay here for the cable.
There are 900 channels on the ATV and my father tells people that all the time when he is on the phone with Greece.
Of course he doesn’t tell them he only watches the Greek news but his comfort still lays in the thought that he has 899 more is he needs them but then again he doesn’t know what they are saying.
He could be watching the local news and the weather man could say that it’s a great day.
My father would hear it’s Greek Day and would switch it over to the Greek news to see what the fuck he missed.
You see a Greek Day is perfectly normal to my parents, they don’t understand Ground Hog Day though.

After explaining to them what a ground hog is and what the day means they sat back thinking.
That’s a long process for my father, my mother is more simple in her thinking.My father said that it’s a stupid holiday because an animal can’t tell how long winter will last.
My mother just said she didn’t know Canadian pigs lived underground and looked like big rats.

You would think that living in a country for almost 50 years you would know more that you do but many immigrants don’t.
They learn the basic words the need to live by and that’s all
I walked into the cleaner’s office one day where I worked and two people I worked with from Greece where eating lunch.
The had a small container of olives, feta cheese and they had a loaf of sliced bread
One went to the small fridge and took out some mayo.
In a bowl he opened a can and emptied the contents into a bowl mixed in a spoon of mayo and made a sandwich spread.
The each took a sandwich and started eating.
They offered me some but I refused.
While talking I picked up the empty can and read the label.
It said cat food.
I showed them.
Jimmy said no and with his finger pointed at the word TUNA.
With my finger, I pointed to the word PURINA.

For years my uncle ate the best beef there was because he only bought top sirloin.
I tried to explain it was the part of the cow where it was cut from but I’m stupid and he is right.
This is the same uncle that didn’t speak to me for a year because I said Jesus was a Jew when everyone knows he was a Christian.
This old lady I know, she was about 75, who didn’t speak English at all couldn’t reach behind the fridge to put back the plug she accidentally pulled out.
It was to heavy for her to move so she decided to go outside for help.
She was stopping men on the street and was trying to tell them that she needed someone to put the plug for the fridge back in by making a circle with two fingers on her left hand and poking her finger through the circle with the other hand.
She couldn’t understand why everyone was looking funny at her.
I told her what that sign meant and I think she came close to fainting at the thought and embarrassment.

So you see sometimes the basics aren’t enough, it’s good to know more.
Well I think I may have rambled out a post for tonight.
I better hit the hay I have a date with a closet in the morning.
Sweet dreams all or good morning for those getting up now and

Have a nice day.



Peter said...

Immigrants the world over seem to do much the same things, Australia is a multi national country too, in fact I believe Melbourne, one of our large cities, has the biggest population of Greeks outside of Greece.

One Mother's Journey said...

Too funny - you just totally described my x-husband's parents. They were from Corfu - only here to make their million, lived in a the "Greek" section of Pittsburgh, refused to speak English because they didn't have too, and watched the Greek news channel 24/7.

They're all the same.

Anonymous said...

Hi Walker,
I'm Hispanic and because where I'm coming from we talk very very very fast... I know how it feels for people not to undertand what I'm saying. and I usually do that.
It is hard no to feel less sometimes, just becasue English is not my first language, but as time goes by, I realized that lots people are learning English...there a lots of people learning Spanish too! and other languages!


Annie said...

What a great I guess it's a lot easier for us to be critical of the "older generation" because we simply have not experienced what they have! How can we truly KNOW what it's like to move to a country where we don't understand the language. For all we know, we'd seek out those who do speak as we do. It seems like such a natural, human-type thing to do! We humans tend to take the easy road, don't we. I think that is our nature.

I'm also thinking that a great deal of angst could be avoided if those loved-ones were accepted for simply who and what they are. I mean they aren't going to change, right? They have their own opinion according to their belief system...and if we spend our time frustrating, angry, ticked-off and disgusted with their attitudes and behaviours -- well, we're missing out on our own life, in the sense that some day they are going to be gone and maybe then we'll say "Gosh, I wonder what so & so really felt about that...or I wish I just accepted her or him for what and who they were" and it will be too late. Then we get to feel regret. I hate regret.

So my point? Well, I'm not sure what it was -- now that I've rambled on and on. I guess it was that I'm surprised that even today there is frustration over how the older generation lives (or doesn't). I thought that ended with MY generation!! Guess some things never stop, do they. LOL