Thursday, 6 September 2007

Quarter Life Crisis

As winter approaches, the pigeons in the Planty are becoming more and more reckless. You can be strolling along perfectly casually when suddenly they slice past your ears like crumb-seeking missiles. The overall impression is of standing on the runway at Biggin Hill at the start of a Red Arrows display.
Today, all was calm, and yet as I watched the crazy old biddy with the neon lipstick plunge her hand into a shopping bag full of breadcrumbs I could clearly see what was about to transpire: suddenly the air was filled with beaked B52s on a beeline for bounty.

A friend who also graduated last year sent me this link, relating to the Quarter Life Crisis:

At first I was a bit sceptical, but there are several things in it that ring true, especially relating to financial and job insecurity. Who was it who promised that a university education would open doors? Doors to the bank manager's office would be more accurate...
Not to mention the sneaking feeling that everyone else is doing better than you (I went to The Best University in the Country bar none, so in all but a few exceptional cases they are, and will probably be running the show in a few years' time. I do hope I bought enough rounds for the right people...).

And they say these are supposed to be the best days of our lives: the other day I was left fuming after my boss told me to 'join the Real World' because I forgot to empty my wastepaper bin on Friday night. I nearly stabbed him (but we don't have sharp enough office supplies). He went to university when it was still free...

I have started to confuse one or two similar-sounding words in Polish (I take this as a good sign because it means at least I've learnt one or two words...).

The two main ones are ciepły (warm- would a Polophone reader please confirm... *)
and ciemny (dark).
I didn't think this posed too much of a problem until the day I walked into my Polish class wearing an 'I love Guinness' t-shirt left over from my pint-pulling days at The Rummer last year (more time propping up the bar than behind it etc. etc.) and the teacher politely observed that I seemed to be a fan of warm beer.

At first I thought this was a slur on my strange British taste in beverages (although Guinness is Irish of course. And I have to admit that I never saw the 'extra-cold' pump in working order during my time at the pub), until I realised my mistake.

The first time I went to Italy for longer than a holiday, I started confusing 'pomidoro'- tomato (same in Polish- hurrah, at last some sensible vocab!)
with 'pomeriggio'- afternoon (from 'post-meridian' so there's a logic there too).

This would have been no problem had I not been working in the catering industry.

On my third day behind the hotel bar I sprinted round to the kitchen and couldn't understand why the chefs were falling over themselves when I asked for a bowl of pomeriggi to make bruschetta for the evening aperitivo...

*In fact, could any reader who is not my Dad please confirm their presence?? I can hear the echoes.... hellooooo??


another 'two dog' family said...

For 'pigeons' read 'seagulls' in Scotland! It's definitely anti-social for 'trippers' to feed their fish & chips to the seagulls and has given rise to articles and discussion in the local paper. These birds don't seem to be able to distingush between food and ears either! Thank goodness we don't have either of these types of birds in that town not too far from Biggin Hill - yet!

rootvegetable said...

hello - I've been enjoying your blog for a few weeks now as I also moved to Krakow from the UK a while ago so thank you!

and yes - cieply/ciepla/cieple = warm and ciemny/ciemna/ciemne = dark (or dim as in dimwitted).

how's the bad obwarzanka lady doing?

pinolona said...


Thanks! I probably should spend more time on more productive things though...
Have you been here long?
Thanks for the Polish tips- the new confusion is własnie/ważny...

The bad obwarzanki lady is back from her hols with a brand new refurbished kiosk, but last time I approached her she growled at me, so I've been keeping my distance...