Sunday, September 20, 2009

Play It, Sam

(My work visa came through.
Everything was settled and sorted. The fires were sussed out and I did not deal with anymore meanies that made me feel like executing the strong urge to crack skulls together.)

As a result of recently beginning a new job of working with children, I have noticed that my approach to conversations is much more...singsong?
When working with ages 5 and a bit above, attention is acquired from children much easier through calming voices, a level tone, and a gentle EVERYONE SHUT THE HELL UP, PAUL QUIT STICKING YOUR FINGER IN YOUR NOSE, MARTIN LET NINA'S BRAID GO, PAUL I SAID GET YOUR FINGER OUT OF YOUR "§$%&$ NOSE AND WHY ARE WE NOT USING OUR INSIDE VOICES!??!

but calmly and coolly, right? and it always helps to - well - sing it in a way.

So the above refrain, if you will, turns into much more of a "la la laaaaaa every child needs to listeeeeeeen and paul get your finger out of your nooooooose, maaaaaartiiiiiiiiin - nina doesn't like it when you pull her braaaaaaids (evidenced by the fact that she is screeeeeaming) and paul what did I say about your nooooooose?"

This is all sung to the tune of "Frere Jacques" or "Head And Shoulders Knees and Toes."
Oh and in German.

Anyway, as I stated: this all has leaked over into my everyday life.
I find myself demonstrating very basic needs and wants through movement and song.
I have found myself entering a room and singing my roommate's name whereas before, I would have been more prone to say something along the lines of, "Yo baby. What's the word."
At work and amongst my colleagues, the words "coffee," "lunchtime" and "Is it 6:00 yet?" become little descants that are passed back and forth.
My personal favourite is that I have caught myself clapping at various times in a conversation to the rhythm of the words being spoken.

Folks - I'm losing my EDGE.

The other most recent noteworthy occurrence is the recent visit to our school by a North American Indian.
Now. For the Germans, it's all wide-eyed-ness, awe, and magnificence to see a real. live. Indian. For an American, this is the equivalent of saying, "Look! It's a real live black man!"
The political incorrectness of the whole conundrum aside, the entire thing was nothing short of pure entertainment.
This man came equipped with his traditional garb, his various CDs of authentic Indian music, a few DVDs of documentaries about the North American Indians and his peace pipe pouch chock full of business cards.
His introduction consisted of a joke: "I know 20 words in German" and with that, he proceeded to count to the number 20 in German.
Typical of the response from any other sane 5-year-old in this universe, he was found to be a complete moron when it came to his numbers, there was a pause to see if the big man would finish what he had started, and, when he did not, came the rolling of the eyes followed by a chorus of, "21, 22, 23, 24, 25...." and then just total confusion when he didn't seem to want to learn.
Served him right. Who can't count past 20 anyways??

The three. hour. long. presentation was wrapped up with our friendly neighbourhood Indian dancing a traditional warrior dance for the class.
Being put in charge of the CD player, I was a bit further away from the proceedings and thanked my lucky sparkling stars after he started jumping around from one foot to the other, waving his arms about, and trilling out battle cries.
So there we are: the Blackfoot Indians are diligently chanting from the CD playing in the background, the children are wide-eyed and open-mouthed, our frazzled head-teacher is hanging from her last string whilst willing herself to avoid an impending heart attack and I'm huddled in the corner near the CD player with my head in my knees and tears streaming from my face.
Afterward, he was timidly offered a plate of waffles made from cornmeal to which he turned up his nose and opted for a cup of black coffee instead.

See, I just didn't have the heart to tell anyone that the whole Corn Issue and the White Men Need Food and the 'Oh the Nice Indians Gave Us Food' and blah blah blah Thanksgiving Thing was something that came from the American Indians and that - yes, this particular specimen was from North AMERICA - but he directly hailed from CANADA and they didn't have much to do with that affair.

Plus, he lives in Berlin.
He probably simply prefers crépes.