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Language Log

Saturday, May. 13, 2006 - 7:31 a.m.

Yesterday. Quite the day, it was. First of all, at 9am I get this phone call AT HOME from a lang. institute student insisting that she had been trying for "weeks" to be authorized to register for a course, and that no one would do it for her and she must be registered NOW. I mean, all she had to do was send me or Mwalimu an email and we'd have the secretary do it. I had received no such email, but now here she was, calling my house to get me to do this? Who would do such a thing? Later I talked with the secretary about this-- turns out this student had kept insisting that she would lose her fellowship if she didn't register for the class RIGHT THEN and that she had been emailing Mwalimu for WEEKS with no response. So the secretary gave her my number on the condition that she not use it until after she tried emailing me.

Needless to say, I never received any email. She just called me. At home. Again, WHO DOES THAT?!? Good lord.

So then I go to get my birth control shot. I have a novice shot-giver doing it, asking if she can use me as practice, with the LPN there to observe. I'm always volunteering for things in a medical context, so I say "sure". My butt still hurts. TOO FAST I said, but it was too late. Ow.

Also, I had to have my measurements taken for a bridesmaid's dress. I get them done, and then call the place to tell them and put the deposit, and they were like, "what dress size do you normally wear?" and say "14", which is true, and they're like "well, according to these measurements, your bust is a 16, your waist is an 18, and your hips are a 22." Now, you'd think that if there is a standard scale mismatch between department store brands and dressmaker sizes, they would know that and tell me. But no, they suggested that I get measured again, and suggested that my alterationist was incompetent. But it was $15 to have my measurements taken, I don't want to do it again. So I called the alterationist and explained the situation, and she was like, I don't know, that's what I got. And no one can explain to me why if my butt is a 22, I normally wear a size 14. I know I have a big butt, and I'm not trying to engage in wishful thinking by giving people ridiculous numbers. Changing the numbers isn't going to hide anything, all I know is that when I go to the department store, most of the time the things they have labeled as 14 fit me. 16s are too large. 22s, I could go camping in. So, what the hell? Did she do it right or not? Why don't they know if the size scales they use are just different? It seems like a basic fact that anyone working in alterations would learn in the first week or so. I'm so confused. I don't want to buy a dress that is 4 sizes too big for me, and then have to pay to have it taken in.

Also, it was cold and rainy and I forgot my jacket.

But I had a great meeting with my Swahili informant. Consultant. Whatever. He really is a lot better at it than Mwalimu. I mean, she is a good language teacher, but kind of just sticks to the facts, the prescriptive line, and waits for me to provide the context. So while she would just say "No." when I was expecting a "yes" and then say "It's the context", leaving me confused and puzzled, he would go on to give me detailed examples and information about the context-- what the weird sentence I had written might possibly mean, but that most of the time people wouldn't say it, they would say some other thing, or people from Zanzibar would understand it but people from the mainland wouldn't really, etc. It was great. I actually feel like I learned something.

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