One terribly nice advantage of living in a foreign country, and not knowing its language, is that I don’t have to notice the chatter going on around me in cafés, on the transit lines, or sitting on a park bench. This Czech gobble-de-gouk is simple background music, white noise, birdsong (if the bird is in the midst of being strangled, that is).
I notice this lovely phenomenon only when I suddenly hear English speakers. To wit:
Yesterday at the library café, while sipping a cappucino and eating a PB&J, I suddenly overheard two Brits talking shit across a table on the other side of the room. They were loud, loutish, and completely without sense. Their conversation reminded me of a time when Jimbo and I were teens, and having this fantastic “ideas” conversation while stoned to bejesus: we figured out that, with the proper auto transmission, the speeds reached by cars is limitless, even while using a simple four-cylinder engine; the one-thousand-gear transmission! Stupendous! Revolutionary! And also complete shit. The next day, we realized that, Yeah, sure, such a transmission is possible, but it would need to be the size of a house, and thus weigh 100 tons.
I can only hope those Brits will have such a think, today.