Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Yesterday's News

I was trawling through my work yesterday when I looked at the time and realised that soon America would inaugrate it's first black president. So I switched on CNN.

If I'm honest I lost pretty much all respect for the country during the last eight years. I also know that promises can be made and broken, and that my first ever vote in my life was for Tony Blair on a wave of optimism that soon bit the dust. But even so, yesterday I felt hopeful. Barack Obama's speech was a step away from the usual self congratulating and trumpeting. I think it was an incredible speech to begin with the truth and say that basically our country is a stinking mess right now and it's not going to be easy to fix it, and to still end with people in tears of joy shouting his name.

Mr Zeus has had a tough life and this has made him cynical. I know he is going to be extremely critical of the president, and wasn't at all impressed by the magnitude of yesterday's events, saying that since African Americans have managed to reach such high positions in government, president is not that much of a big deal. But to me it's a huge deal, a gigantic deal. Maybe I am naive to say this, but one of the reasons I don't think it touched him the way it touched me is that he is not an ethnic minority.

Looking at Barack Obama, I wondered all the times in his life he had heard the word "nigger" and now that same man who people scornfully spat such a hateful word at is going to be "Mr. President". That to me is incredible.

Unless you are an ethnic minority, it really is hard to imagine how difficult his road was. Unless you yourself have turned up to job interviews and watched the door mentally close as soon as your ethnicity is registered, you don't know what that feels like, or been asked ridiculous and irrelevant questions like is there a chance you might be married soon, because, you know, that's what you do in your culture and we're really looking for someone long-term. Or spoken to IN V-E-R-Y SLOW AND LOUD ENG-LISH BECAUSE YOU LOOK LIKE IT MAY NOT BE YOUR FIRST L-A-N-G-U-A-G-E, the answer to which should always be F-U-C-K Y-O-U but sadly is usually an embarrassed "Um, I speak English as a first language."

Whatever may happen next, at least it can be said that Barack Obama earned his place. He worked for it from the ground up, unlike George W Bush who treated the presidency like some family dry cleaning business and took over because Daddy was the last boss.

How did Earth manage to get through eight years of that guy? There will always be bad presidents, but he was the first completely incompetent and stupid president, which made him lethal. Watching the guy you'd think he believed he was Tom Cruise in Top Gun. Oh how good it feels to be talking about him in the past tense. People, we made it. It's over. Dubya is gone. He may have shat all over the world before he left, but he's gone.

Poke your heads out of the steaming piles of bullshit and observe, and hope.

***
On another theme yesterday was a crappy day for me as you can judge from my previous post. Just last week I was about to write a post about how great it feels to have my Greek up to a level where I can give directions to lost Greeks and make jokes. Then a day like yesterday comes around.


We got a puppy two months ago and the puppy decided to make Scooby Snacks out of our printer cable. So I went to Plasio to see if they sell replacements. I was instructed up to the third floor where I muddled about for a while trying to catch a sales assistant's eye. Finally a girl spun around and asked me what I needed. And then it happened. The words crashed into each other in my head and some unidentifiable nonsense poured out of my mouth. Her face screwed up in a look of disgust and she said "Ti????"


My face flushed and I began to sweat. Defeated, I shakily held out the chewed printer cable. Feeling like a graduate of the School of Morons, I watched as she waved her hands about and said in pidgen Greek so that I, the dumb Greekless foreigner would understand YOU MUST CALL HP, NOT HERE, WE NO HAVE HERE, CALL THE COMPANY ON THE TELEPHONE (make exaggerated phone gesture) T-E-L-E-P-H-O-N-O, NOT HERE, to which I should have said FUCK YOU, but asked meekly if I could get HP's telephone from the internet, only I kept saying Apa to internet and when I tried to correct myself I got caught in a loop like some malfunctioning robot Apa..Apo...Apa..Apo.


Why why whyyyyy?!?!?!

6 comments:

teacher dude said...

I know how you feel about Greek. Still happened you me sometimes. My mind goes blank especially if the person is aggressive or rude.Don't worry though, its just a bad day, the others will be better.

As far as printer cables are concerned I think they are pretty much standard i.e its the same kind of cable whatever the make.

Psofofeggaro said...

Ouch. Kinda know how it is in situations like this, it happent to me on Prague with english when my mind went blank on an extremely simple word and couldn't make something right to get out of my mouth.
I know what you mean about rude greek too, nationalism is a damn big dissadvantage of us, we tend to be silly and rude with others sometimes even in times for no reason, just because we're having a bad day everyone we meet must pay for it :(
Lay on your couch with a warm drink and relax, the day has passed, no point in regretting and guilty/embaressed emotions, next time it will be perfect :)

Psofofeggaro said...

Ouch. Kinda know how it is in situations like this, it happent to me on Prague with english when my mind went blank on an extremely simple word and couldn't make something right to get out of my mouth.
I know what you mean about rude greek too, nationalism is a damn big dissadvantage of us, we tend to be silly and rude with others sometimes even in times for no reason, just because we're having a bad day everyone we meet must pay for it :(
Lay on your couch with a warm drink and relax, the day has passed, no point in regretting and guilty/embaressed emotions, next time it will be perfect :)

Blackbird said...

You're not alone in this.

I know how things like that can just completely throw you off for a while and put you in a miserable mood.

Here, have a laughing baby
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cXXm696UbKY

;)

EllasDevil said...

Ms Bollybutton.

How many languages do you speak?

Because I do think until these sales assistants can speak English as good as you and can have a half decent attempt at any of the dialects from the home country then really you have nothing to worry about.

They are sure to be more linguistically challened than you could ever be!

You're doing great! Keep it up!

stassa said...

Yeah, damn foreign languages, they always let you down when you need them most. I needed, really needed my English to work properly a few weeks ago, when I had to really get into a fight with that post office assistant who was telling me he couldn't find my packet (it was there, of course), but all I could do was yell and splutter to him in a very (very!) bad imitation of English. With a south-European accent (you know, the fat, meaty 'llls).

Oh, about Obama, I think you're very right about your hubby not getting it, what it is to be an ethnic minority. It's not his fault, what with being Greek and all. But it's true. I just only realised three days ago what "kafros" means... (it means "kaffir", that is to say "nigger" in Apartheid-speak). We have so many of those racial slurs in our everyday speech and most of the time we don't even register what they mean when we say them...

I'm happy the USA elected a black man for president (I'd be happier if he was a black woman!). All the same I'm a bit worried about the personality cult he's got going. I'm worried his mistakes may go unnoticed, or get sort of covered over with "oh, but he's such a great guy- and he's black!" or that criticism against him may be met with "you're just being racist".

Btw, I'm very unhappy these days, I was just having a huge blog row with people who insisted, among other things, that blacks in America and the UK are guilty of "reverse racism".

:(