May 8, 2012

Forget It!

“Forget it.”

Forget it. These words still sting. They are akin to saying ‘give up.’  Throw in the towel. Laisse pisser. Sayonara.

One morning last week, I was on the phone with my son’s yeshiva. I was trying to sort out a simple tuition issue. But before I could even address my matter, I had to pass the secretary’s litmus test. And yes, I failed. Yet again.  Before I could emit a two-syllable word (forget about complete sentences), the secretary interrupted me, saying, “Your son is in the foreign students program, yes?”

Well, no. I mean sort of. Truth be told, I should be in the foreign students program. But my son, well, believe it or not, he is fluent in Hebrew even though it may be hard to believe.

So after I had so elegantly established myself as the mother of an Israeli yeshiva student, I tried to explain the reason for my call. For this phone conversation I needed some basic banking vocabulary, an ability to conjugate verbs in the past, a memory larger than an iguana’s and a cool head.

I stuttered. I spoke in infinitives and if I did conjugate a verb, my past perfect became future. My masculine nouns were adorned with Spanish adjectives. I sputtered.  My feminine numbers came out French. Or was I supposed to use the masculine form of numbers when talking about bank statements?  I winced. 

Four sentences into my drivel, the secretary interrupted me again and in perfect English she said, “Forget it.”

Forget it? This was code for ‘Lady, you are giving me such a headache, I can’t take it anymore. Switch languages right away before I jump out a window or hang up this phone.’

I felt as if I were being sent to the back of the class. I failed. Miserably.  I swallowed my pride and switched to English. Within half a minute, I communicated my concern, she looked into the matter and the problem was solved. Click.

Foget it! Perhaps these words also spelled ‘relief.’  They granted me the ability to relax, to regain dignity, to solve an issue quickly and to slink back up to the front of the class.  

But why did the secretary  make me suffer? If she spoke English, why did she watch me toss in the rapids so long without throwing me a rope? Why did she not stretch out a hand and correct my Hebrew, maybe offer me a missing word, some encouragement? 

And why is my Hebrew so bad ? I have actually completed Kita Daled in ulpan. Over the years living here, I have done so many ulpans, I am a connoisseur of Hebrew language classes--yet I am a delinquent in disguise.  In classs, homework assignments may have been flawless but my conversation was abysmal. 

Perhaps my Hebrew is weak because I live in Ra’anana and have no Israeli, Hebrew-speaking friends. Or maybe it’s a reaction to my children rolling their eyes every time I open my mouth. It could be my age, an iguana-sized brain or a lack of caffeine.  

This topic wears me down, so let’s just forget it. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Your comments are always welcome.