29 May 2007...5:28 pm

Wall Is Wall, No?

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I lived in Guatemala three years ago, and only for a little while, and I spend a lot of it drinking Brazilian pilsner in front of the Red Sox/Yankees world series. But I did learn some Spanish–my stated goal–as did my old, best friend Gabe, who has traveled extensively and also had a girlfriend when he lived in Bolivia. Basically, he at least knows how to look awkward and ingratiating in any language and probably knows the Spanish for “can you please help me unhook your bra?”

Gabe was coming to visit a few weeks ago, and we discussed this and other inconsequentials on GChat. I had the creeping sensation that we were making only a modicum of actual Spanish sense, but the conversation was proceeding relatively smoothly for the gringoes involved, so I left it at that. This afternoon, I finally decided to test us and, perhaps, the mettle of sweet Babelfish. Somos poetas, Gabe y yo. Leelo:

Gabriel: well emma
me: are you working? at the Brown? yes gabe?
Gabriel: we are gchattando
me: if, we make that
Gabriel: and I must practice but
me: I also.

Gabriel: today I ordered free of interlibrary loan on ingles of Liberia
me: ah, that interesting whichever books as that exists? (I feel like an idiot)
Gabriel: 15 in all world
me: he has I am reiendo aloud
Gabriel: it is a book of 70s

Gabriel: high voice, like a beautiful one?
me: like? instead of making a noise in the head, I made aloud
Gabriel: ahha, I did not saw I am reiendo in voice alt
me: ah I understand
Gabriel: and it was pensiendo in means

me: if if, he is too facil to ***reflx mng itself like a poet when the gringos write in Espanol [note: apparently, Altavista deems "reading oneself" to be an action so lewd as to be unprintable. I should probably take that personally.]
Gabriel: I am poet always
me: I am trying to translate our conversation but I cannot copiarla. you can?
Gabriel: you must use save chat feature perhaps
me: I am not certain that gustaria me I am. then, I cannot make it

Gabriel: so that no? emma, I must leave but, we spoke on visitacion
me: okay Friday that comes?
Gabriel: if, all times this good is a possibility that I go to tenes other plans but you cannot arrive in nobody hroa
me: perfect can lily sleep by the wall? in any room of your house? ah, okay. then, we will speak

Gabriel: wall is wall, no?
me: ah! you are right! I always made that mistake and people cracked up
Gabriel: like i a.m. now
me: in my old house there was to cleaning lady (not for one I paid) but we would speak in spanish and one Time I was like “oh, don’t even clean my room, there are clothes all to over the wall “and she loved it. is clothes everything by the wall
Gabriel: clothes in all parts
me: yeah

Gabriel: but, that word was pensiendo?
me: um, floor? Floor I forget. what is? floor!


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