Did I mention that I'm taking German at our local community college? Our professor, a native of Germany, extols the virtues of super-sized words such as Mitbewohnerinnen while barely concealing her contempt for American pop culture.
Her foils in the class are two girls, recent graduates of Rowan County's finest, rural, directionally-named high schools, who constantly complain about the class lasting all the way until 8:20 PM. The other week, they vigorously debated Frau W. over whether or not the dearth of Wal-Marts in Germany was a good thing. They dislike hard breads and dry wines. They are, in short, a cultured European's worst nightmare.
Last night Frau W. was trying to read the writing on the back of one of their T-shirts (die T-shirts in German!) as one of them exited the class at break time. Something like "I'm a genetic experiment gone wrong." (Please, no jokes about Germans and experiments.) Anyway, she shows her the front, and explains, "It's a Lilo and Stitch shirt."
Frau W. grimaces.
"What?" asks the other girl. "You didn't like that movie?"
Icy, Teutonic haughtiness spreads across Frau W.'s face. "Do I look like somebody who watches Disney movies?" she asked.
Maybe you had to be there, but I fell apart laughing.
Later, we did diphthongs. In German, "ay" is pronounced like a long "I" in English. "Eu" is like our "oy." The German city of Bayreuth is thus an excellent specimen for this drill.
Frau W. makes an aside. "Do you know what Bayreuth is famous for?" she asks. "It's Wagner's home. Every year the politicians get all dressed up and go listen to five hours of Wagner." She gestured, indicating disapproval. Just because you're a cultured European doesn't mean you're into it lock, stock and barrel.
Girl pipes up: "What do you expect? Y'all don't have Wal-Mart there."