22 August 2014

A dictionary can always bring you down

For years I've been learning Italian...but just when I think I'm good enough my hopes are dashed by the dictionary.

Whenever we've needed to get our plumber, we have an arrangement whereby Stu digs whatever holes he needs and the plumber does the technical work. We hope this saves us money but we suspect it doesn't.

Anyway, every time the plumber comes, I remind him that Stu will dig the holes. "Stu scarica la buca", I say, mustering my best language and negotiating skills. The plumber never flinches; he just tells me where Stu should dig the holes.

This morning, we were driving into town when we saw a sign "Divieto di Scarica". We've seen this sign many times before and I have always interpreted it to mean "No Digging". Stu asked me what it meant. I encouraged him to look it up in the dictionary we keep in the car rather than translate for him.

Stu opened the dictionary, flicked a few pages and announced that "scarica" meant "unload" or "discharge" or "dump".

Suddenly I felt hot. My face grew very red.

For years I've been telling our plumber that "Stu would discharge into the hole"!

One can only wonder what he thought Stu was discharging into the hole!


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