25 February 2007

Language Barrier

Today I needed a plunger. Typical. It's Sunday and EVERY store is closed. So I contacted some local friends I knew were in town for the weekend. I sent D a text message. The message was simply: "Do you have a plunger?" The answer was surprising:

D: "What's a plunger?"

Me: "You know, for clogged drains?"

D: "Oh, the thing cartoon characters always end with on their head and nose!"

It turns out that he didn't have one. So I called my Australian friend A with the same question.

A: "What's a plunger?"

Me: "You know, for clogged drains."

A: "Oh, you mean for the thunderpot!" [I'm pretty sure she was kidding around. Remember, these are the same people who call diapers "knappies" and pieces of candy "lollies."]

Finally, I texted S. Same question.

S: "I was not sure what a plunger was, but according to Google images I could borrow you one indeed. Hope it's not too bad ..." [I didn't want to ask with "it" referred to.]

So I learned a new Dutch word today: ontstopper.

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