Saturday, April 25, 2009

Bangkok

A woodpecker (apparently a Northern Flicker, if you happen to take an interest in such things) has pecked a giant, perfectly round hole in the tree right next to our back deck. At first I was disturbed, because from what I could tell peering into the hole, that tree no longer has any innards, and probably is not long for this world.

But then I remembered I hate that tree and it might as well function as a woodpecker habitat in its final days. Normally I am pro-tree, but seriously, this tree is an asshole. I haven't been able to definitively identify it but I think it might be a Flowering Pacific Jerkface.

In the late summer it develops giant, strange, stinky blossoms. They attract--not bees, not hummingbirds, not butterflies, but WASPS. Hundreds upon hundreds of terrifying, angry-seeming wasps. And then, once the blooming is over in the fall and the wasps have finally gone away, the damn tree looses not just its leaves but its BRANCHES. Every single bit of the tree except for the central trunk falls right off, which makes an insane mess and leaves us with a sad, stubby-looking tree throughout the winter. So as far as I'm concerned the woodpeckers are welcome to it. Maybe we can set them to work on the linoleum in the bathroom.

**
**

One of our regulars at the library is a woman who is apparently learning English, though her exact mission isn't quite clear. She carries around pieces of paper with English words on them and asks us to pronounce them for her. Most of us limit her to just a few, since this falls sort of outside our job description and she would otherwise hang out and pronounce with us all day.

The other day my coworker and I were talking at the reference desk when she approached. I asked her to choose just a couple of words, and she said, "Okay--this one please," and pointed.

"Bangkok."

She leaned toward me and pointed to her ear. "Heh?"

"Bangkok."

"HEH?"

"The first part is BANG. BANG." She scribbled furiously to write the word down phonetically in her own language.

"Okay. Other part?"

"The second part is 'cock.'"

"Heh?"

"COCK. COCK."

A puzzled look on her face.

"COCK!"

At this point I was screaming and I had the full attention of the room. My coworker had pretty much collapsed on the floor in a giggle fit.

The patron said, "One more time?"

"COCK."

"Oh, okay! Bangkok. Thank you!" And she gave me the sweetest smile in the world.