Sunday, August 21, 2005

Ganas, Jing Jing, and other words needed in English

I was at Leslie Middle School in 1988 attending my first-year Spanish class when I learned the definition for ganas. Senyorita Shirley stood at the front of the class with her hands in claw formation grabbing at her stomach, hunched over as if she were in pain. "Ganas," she explained, "are this gutteral, emotional, burning, visceral need for something."

Tengo ganas de salir el Midwest.

That sounds so much better than "I really want to leave the Midwest." Or "I rilly rilly want to leave the Midwest." Or "I god-damned fucking want to get the fucking hell out of the fucking Midwest."

That's the beauty of learning other languages, you get to learn about words that simply don't translate into your own. You learn that an entire group of people somewhere in the world decided that a word was needed for a concept that you've always understood, but could not articulate. For example, I went out with the boyfriend last night. We ate at our favorite restaurant, and were trying to make plans for the evening.

bf: What do you want to do now?
me: I don't know [whiney voice].
bf: You want to go to a movie?
me: There's nothing good playing [whinier voice].
bf: You want to rent a movie?
me: Noo. I don't know [still whiney...why does this man put up with me?!].
bf: You want to go to the bar?
me: No. [yep]
bf: Um...You want to go to Wal-Mart and walk around? Or, I KNOW! We could drive out into the corn fields and stare at the corn.


Of course, the last two suggestions were jokes, but that is really the gambit of all there is to do here on a Saturday night in GradShitTownVille. Sometimes there's live music, but with all the douche-bag undergrads back in town, I was hesistant to even bother.

I was telling my friend about my previous evening and she said, "Oh, you were in jing jing mood." Apparently, in Korean, there is a word for the mood in which a person is really apathetic and whiny and doesn't want to do anything. This is great. I have a word for this mood now.

Today, I'm not in jing jing mood. Today, I'm just pissed off that I live here. Many times, people ask me why I hate the Midwest so much. Generally, I don't bother answering because if they don't already know, then anything I have to say won't make them understand. But today, I'm especially angry about living here, and so I will list my top ten reasons:

1. The local "forests" are either caged up biological research areas or embarassingly small "learning centers" where the trails are overbuilt and dogs aren't allowed.

2. "Dude, I know you. You know me. We see each other every god-damned day in that computer science building of ours. You are a computer science grad student. But, since I saw you in the public library, I guess you are going to pretend you don't know me and just walk on by. Ass." Note: people do this to me, even when I see them in the computer science building.

3. Beer selection:
me: "What kind of beer do you have?"
waitress: "We have everything. [Pause] We have Budweiser, Coors, Miller Lite, and Blue Moon."
me: "Nevermind."

4. No bottle deposit.

5. I'm growing out my hair because I got tired of people assuming that I was a lesbian dating the other girl in computer science with short hair. At one point, someone invited me to a party saying, "C'mon, you should go! There will be lots of hot chicks there!"

6. The local mass transit company wants to spend a gajillion dollars on light rail. The stupid town doesn't even have bike lanes, and they want to spend a fortune on a fancy little choo choo train to travel the 10 mile diameter of the town.

7. The dancing scene is 80% inbred cheese weasles who think they are the best dancer EVAH and therefore too good to dance with anyone else. That, or they will dance with you, at which point they simply grab your boob when no one is looking, or explain to you that they are an artist looking for nude models.

8. "Feels like 115 F."

9. "Feels like -26 F."

10. The town is surrounded by miles and miles of flat farmland whose pollen, fertilizers, and pesticides are the equivalent to poison in my lungs. In order to breathe, I have to take 4 different medications among which put me at greater risk for throat cancer and osteoporosis.

Stay tuned. Hopefully I can take the chainsaw to the overgrown shubbery in the backyard and get back into my regular malaise, rather than this hyper-angry state.

4 comments:

blithering moron said...
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shannon said...

Man, I totally know why you don't like it there. Shit, why do you think I got the hell out? You will too. Just keep the eye on the prize!!!

FemaleCSGradStudent said...

I know. I try to take it one day at a time...like alcoholism. But there are some days when...grrrrr. Thanks for comiserating.

Chris said...
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