Usually these searches are quite innocuous, though sometimes they are downright weird. Terms like, “Pan Am plane” or “Wicked Witch of the West picture” (which has been modified by words such as, “looking sideways” or “with shadow”) are fairly unexciting. I get “Cogsworth” searchers, Amplemann searches, and “helicopter” searches and – especially after the new TV show has come out – Pan Am searches. I have gotten people looking for “witches on Bainbridge Island” – that was, ummmm…odd. I’ve even gotten people searching for “babysitters on Orcas Island”.
For the last week or so, the search term, “that Seinfeld episode where he can’t remember the words” has shown up and so has…now get this…something written in the Cyrillic alaphabet. Yes, in Russian.
I took Russian in college. For one and a half terms. For some reason it took me that half term to finally admit I’d been defeated. I am not one of those blessed people for whom foreign languages come easily. Have I said this before? Quite possibly, but I’ll say it again. I am, in fact, UNblessed with language skills. It’s like there’s something in me that says, “I like English. I do well with English. Why would I want to mess up the good thing I’ve got going here?”
I do remember one word in Russian. Phonetically spelled, it’s “Hor-o-show”. This means, “good!” and was said by my teacher, Tanya, whenever her students got something right. “Ocheen Hor-o-show,” she would say. “Very good!” (Apparently I remember two words.) But let me be perfectly clear here: I do not remember this phrase because of the numerous times it was said to me. I remember it because it was said to others. Other brilliant linguists with whom I was stuck for three hours a week in a small classroom in Villard Hall. Brilliant University of Oregon students (one of whom went on to become Tanya’s “special friend”) would answer brilliant questions with their brilliant accents.
“Hor-o-show!” Tanya would exclaim, smiling her brilliant smile.
Horror Show, more like it, in my book.
Having mentioned to you, my faithful followers, time spent in high school French class and time spent struggling with German in Germany, you’d think that I would have known better than to attempt Russian. But no, at that point in my life, I wanted to be a journalist and live in the center of the Cold War zone: Moscow. I’d been there. In February, no less. I thought I knew what to expect and I could take it. I collected Matryoshka dolls. (Still do.) I liked a good onion dome. I’d read War and Peace…well, except for the war parts. (Seriously.) All I needed for my dream to come true was a little language skill.
And that, my dear friends, is why I live in Minnesota…and not in Moscow. I throw “bitte” into my colorful vocabulary, “merci” from time to time, even “uff da” because it’s regional.
But never “Hor-o-show”.
I’d rather not remember my ineptitudes.