Playing the Game

The Russian language sounds so foreign to me.  For the most part, it sounds like gibberish except for the occasional word that coincides with its English counterpart, for example the words for supermarket, minimum, maximum, and many country names.

To amuse myself when everyone is speaking Russian around me, I pretend it is a game .. a game that everyone is playing except for me.  I imagine that they are all making up the sounds and don’t actually communicate anything meaningful to each other.  They are in conspiracy against me.  But, since I know that they are playing this game, I have the upper hand (since in my mind of course, they don’t know that I know it is a game).  It makes the conversations much more amusing for me.

One day we decided to play back.  Herbert wanted a coffee, but the bartender (as usual) was MIA.  So, we came up with a scheme.  Herbert was to go up to the staff to ask if he could make it himself, and he was to interpret whatever they said as an affirmation that he could make his own coffee.  Well, the plan worked. He asked permission, then walked straight over to the machine, turned it on and put a coffee mug under the spout.  The problem arose when we realized that we did not know what to do next.  There are about 15 buttons on the machine, so he started to press at random.  No response.  After a few minutes an angry lady came over and tapped her index finger loudly on the counter.  We engaged in some primitive conversation with her (despite her not knowing any English) and walked away without getting the coffee.

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