auf deutsch!

Jennifer said the sweetest thing about that photo in This One is for Janie :

“Wait, she’s that girl in college where all the boys, ALL THE BOYS followed her every move, took French to be next to her and then kept her on the dance floor all night. Or was it a movie???”

max on campusJennifer is really sweet. And really wrong.

See. Technically, I did not look like that on campus. I looked like this on campus.

[What, you thought film students wore make up?]

And technically, it was not French. It was German. And, things went a little different.

I showed up for first day of class. Everyone else showed up for first day of class. And then —

Frau Miller showed up for first day of class.

Frau Miller was East German. The real deal. Like, she lived behind the wall when there was a wall. She was older, but you could tell she had been built like Jane Mansfield. Bombshell material. Also the real deal. And she walked into that classroom, up to the front of the room, and rattled off some German at the class –

And the whole class answered back.

In German.

I am not kidding.

The whole class —

Except for me.

I did not know what in hell she just said. Let alone how to answer.

Frau Miller smiled. “You see? You can understand German just through context.”

And I stared wide eyed around that room and realized, Frau Miller believed that. That people could understand German just through context, and somehow muster up a response in German, a [hello!] foreign language, just, you know, going on context [wtf!], and she believed this because she had been teaching a long time, and every time, got a room full of ringers..

[Ringers are people who already know something or are partially proficient at a subject and just take the class for an easy coast for the gpa and credits.]

I was not a ringer. I was someone who did not know German. I was not the only person who got this right off either. I was sitting next to a cute guy starting out. Who I am pretty sure sat by me because he thought I was cute. I was sitting by a lot of people, when that class started. I was in the middle of the classroom surrounded by desks with people in them.

Frau Miller talked some more, auf Deutsch, natch, because we would all know what she was saying because of “context.” And everyone answered, auf Deutsch, because clearly they did know. Through [coughcoughringerscoughcough] “context.” [I am not kidding about ringers either five girls in that class were German, yes, German, as in from Germany, transfer students, grew up in Germany speaking, hello, German.] And then she said we would take a break and after the break we would partner up with people sitting next to us.

We all went on break.

We all came back.

And every single person who had been sitting next to me going in was now sitting at least one desk, sometimes two or three, away from me.

Frau Miller gave me a weird look.

I do not think she got why I was sitting in a circle of empty desks in the middle of the room.

Dear Frau Miller, it was not my breath. Really. I had tic tacs.

28 Responses to auf deutsch!

  1. Du bist einen frakkin’ hottie, max. Even dressed down and tanking Die Deutch.

  2. max

    Du bist also, Miss Janie.

  3. That’s the story of my life…sitting in a circle of empty desks in the middle of the room.

    But you know on some days I don’t mind the leg room ;-).

    I wonder how you say THAT in German?

  4. max

    This sounds like a job for Babblefish.

  5. Wholesome, intelligent, gorgeous, this is the girl they took home to meet the parents. Apparently you are not from Minnesota where they like Sexy Smart girls.

  6. max

    Wait. Back up. There is a place on this planet where guys like smart girls?

  7. aj

    I have to speak to German’s Oma, so grandmother, on the phone, and half the time I do not know what she is saying, so my typical answer in this situation is “right” “ok” “right”.

    I would have joined you at those abandoned tables.

  8. max

    In the end, I survived two years of German, and over two thirds of the people I started that class with did not. I guess the stuff you pick up at home from Grandma is not enough to pass those classes. Those German instructors were mean too, they just beat the stuff into you. But they must have been doing something right because in Germany, it took people a while hearing me talk to guess I was a native English speaker. Not because my German is any good, it is not, it is stilted and real limited. But what I do know I guess sounds right and does not have an obvious American accent.

  9. Max, you are a catch because their moms are smart and they can’t bring home bimbos. There are two things to do in the winter of Minnesota, Take German and actually learn it or get drunk and look on in hopeless jealously and declare, Oh yeah…she’s a breeder!

  10. max

    That is funny. You are right. Every boyfriend’s mother I ever met was really great to me. Except the Mississippi mom. She was nice enough, but she had real difficulty calling a girl Max so she called me Maddy instead and also used to give me this sort of Southern look and say, He is just like his father. Which I think was her way of telling me it was not going to work out.

  11. Oh, caps are not a good way to disguise beauty.

  12. *Grins* The girl I sat next to in French claims that it was my fault she went from being a straight A student to merely scraping though.

    Me, I think it was the amount of time she spent composing poems to her love’s left eyebrow (in English) instead of paying attention, but there’s no doubt I am pants at language…

    I was probably lucky to have her.

  13. max

    Solnuskha, aren’t you in Russia? Aren’t there like 12 cases in Russian? Or is that Finish? You have got to be insanely good at languages. Like alien good.

  14. Anita, you were probably killing these people off in your stories……..

    Max, maybe Mississippi Mom’s wink means he’s well hung. Which is really sick if you think about it.

  15. I love weird languages but not necessarily the men who speak them.

  16. max

    Well, his father ran off to California to be in movies, so when people in the family said, He is just like his daddy, I think they meant, He will be running off any day now.

  17. Gotcha. I knew there was a more appropriate explanation.

    So – what ever happened to him? Ever run into him? lol

  18. Finish is the one with 12. Actually, I think it might be 16 but ‘they don’t use some of them _very_ often’. Makes me feel quite faint to think of it.

    Russian has six. I got on much better with it when I just decided to ignore their grammar. People think I’m Polish. This is because if you hear someone speaking Polish, it sounds like Russian, but you can’t understand a word.

    I am insanely bad at languages. Like alien bad. No really.

  19. Well, presumably unless you speak Polish you won’t understand a word whether or not you speak Russian, but… Pants. Need more coffee.

  20. max

    Stil, the boyfriend or the father? The father actually was in a couple movies. They were good looking men. I have not seen either in ages though.

    Chesh, thanks.

    Sol, I could barely [and ineptly] handle four. That was not even the hardest part though. It was the gendered nouns. Aahhh!

  21. There’s always imdb, Max — you could look ’em up!

    My dream is to conquer Italian, Danish, German, and French. I know a bit of Russian but only the words credit card – coincidence, really.

    And my Danish is limited to asking for a bottle of red wine.

    Hmm. Credit card and red wine. I guess I’m practical.

  22. max

    I can ask where the toilet is in four languages. That has gotten me through quite a few countries without international incident.

  23. International incident? heehee

  24. Pingback: boromir auf deutsch « celluloid blonde

  25. James Patrick Joyce

    “Wait. Back up. There is a place on this planet where guys like smart girls?”


    “Not because my German is any good, it is not, it is stilted and real limited. But what I do know I guess sounds right and does not have an obvious American accent.”

    They understood you, because of context.

  26. max

    “They understood you, because of context.”


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