Wednesday, February 24, 2010

On Time, Work, and Idioms

Today has moved surprisingly fast. Time seems to move in large jumps petween the moments I glance at the clock. It probably helps that I don't actually remember doing my work, although my desk is cleaned off, and that TMSV has been away from her desk most of the day and therefore isn't a distraction.

It was nice to be plugging along at whatever I was plugging along at this morning then look into the corner of my main monitor and see that the time was 11:00 AM, thirty minutes before lunch. It was a surprise to get back from lunch and do whatever I did then look down and notice that it was after three.

I truly have no memory of doing my work.

I must have searched and screened and scanned and data entered this morning, but I don't remember doing it.

I don't remember pulling up much to read. I do remember posting on that other blog. I don't remember playing online games. I do remember replying to comments in the last post and on other people's blogs. I don't really remember my lunch hour, but I must have left the office because otherwise I'd have to pee, probably pretty badly. Like a racehorse, I suppose, but since I've never seen a racehorse, or any horse, pee I'm not sure exactly what that mean. Although I suppose it means pee a lot because, I assume, that an animal that much larger than a human has a larger bladder than me and therefore pees a large quantity when it pees.

Where do you think the phase "pee like a racehorse" came from? Do other cultures have a similar phrase?

That's one thing I sometimes wonder about when I watch science fiction. Idioms, I mean. An alien must get really confused when a human says something was "tongue-in-cheek." Even with a translator that can translate one language perfectly into another language, would it recognize the phrase as an idiom and translate it as "humorously" or "jokingly," or would it do a direct translation of the words? Then the alien would be wondering what the human is doing with his (or her) tongue in his (or her) cheek. And isn't it hard to talk with one's tongue in one's cheek. That's assuming the alien even knows what a tongue is!

Thing should work the other way, too. I mean shouldn't aliens be going around saying things like, "Your words are feglaios on a bentomej to me." What the hell does that mean, right? Hell, even if there's some kind of context around it, maybe it's an argument that's gotten personal, does it mean the words are hurtful? Meaningless? Stupid? Unhelpful? Helpful? What?

Huh, I guess my brother's girlfriend, who's from China, has this problem. Well, on occasion. I can't remember it coming up, but she's only been in the US a few years. It was probably worse early on. Wouldn't it suck to have someone make up idioms then you use them...

You know, I bet my brother's done that to her at least once. I would.


geewits said...

A day when work flies by like that is a very good day.

As for idioms, I think they are fun in other languages if someone explains them. A Cuban-American blogger aften posts Cuban expressions in Spanish, then translates them word for word, then explains how the expression works. And these are just asides that she does to illustrate whatever story she's going to tell.

As far as science fiction goes, I always loved watching Data or 7 of 9 trying to make sense of an expression.

I hope you have more fast work days!

Jazz said...

Like Geewits says, a day that flies at work is the greatest thing there is...

In french we have a similar expression, but it pertains to rain: Il pleut comme vache qui pisse (raining like a pissing cow, i.e. a helluva lot).

I'm sure there's an equivalent to peeing like a racehorse, but off the top of my head... dunno.

Anonymous said...

Reminds me of an old Chappelle joke where he would make up black slang to mess with his white lawyer

found it: