scruta

Either you are sorting it out, or you are full of it.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Picture Chips

[Ferret is ordering food at Subway, engaging in the strange dance that one goes through at such service locations in Shanghai. Do I bark my orders in Chinese or English? Both are acceptable, although there is an assumption as a foreigner that you will be doing the English-bark. Ferret chooses Chinese in all of its perversity, and works his way down the line, performing well enough. Until he gets to the cashier:]

Casher

Hello, twenty-three yuan.

Ferret

我要套餐。

I want the meal.

Cashier

什么?

What?

Ferret

套餐。

The meal.

Cashier

套餐,是吧?

Oh, the meal?

Ferret

是的。

Yes.

[The Cashier slaps a cup for a fountain soda on the counter and begins:]

Cashier

你要什么种类曲奇啊!

What kind of cookies do you want?

Ferret

[pausing as the word for “cookie” comes into his head:]

哦,我不要。我要那个图片。

Oh, I don’t want that. I want the picture.

[Ferret was searching for the word for “potato chips” which is 薯片 (shúpiàn), but thought about the other word for “potato” 土 (tù), but was tonally attracted to the second tone of è–¯ (shú), so… 图片 (túpiàn). If this confuses you, reader, don’t be alarmed. The Cashier was equally confused as to why Ferret was asking for a picture with his meal.]

Cashier

[realizing what he means]

哦,告诉我你要的,我帮你拿。

Oh, tell me which one you want, and I’ll grab it for you.

Ferret

没关系,我自己拿。

Don’t worry about it, I’ll grab it myself.

[Only later, as he is eating his sandwich outside, does Ferret realize that he asked for a “picture” instead of “potato chips.” He sighs. Chinese you are a motherfucker.]

posted by ferret at 2:30 pm  

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