Saturday, July 22, 2006

I swear to you that these conversations really happened

(between the Iraqi electrician supposedly supervising the install crew and myself)

“So when do think you will be finished?”
“The time iz one hour.”
“One hour?”
“Yez, one hour tomorrow.”
One hour tomorrow?? Oh no, not tomorrow! Today.”
“It iz okay. Tomorrow iz okay.”
“We need it finished today so that we can connect the second floor tomorrow.”
“Today, okay. We weel be finished tomorrow, okay? How about I guarantee it? I weel guarantee it for one hour.”
“Do you speak English??”

“Is the equipment here?”
“The panels?”
“The breakers?”
“You said the equipment was here!”
“Yes. Here in Baghdad. Not here.”
“Okay, okay – how about the cost?”
“Eighty-seven hundreds.”
“That’s the total additional cost?”
“More the cost. Yes, for us.”
“For you, yes. But Hussain says the volts are metric.”

“Did they measure the cable so that it’ll reach the new transformers?”
“Yez, it was not measured.”
“It was not measured? How do we know it will reach?”
“It weel reach, inshala (trans: God willing)”
“But shouldn’t you measure it to be sure?”
“Okay, it weel reach. We measure.”
“Good, do you have the schematic?”
“What is ‘schematic?’”
[me pulling hair out]

“Can you move those cables – they are a trip hazard.”
“No hazard, sir. You lift your knees. Like this”


Anonymous Kelly said...

Hmmm. Sounds like some conversations Keith has had with me about the wall removal in our house. He tries and tries to explain it to me and yet, I know "nah-sing".

July 22, 2006 8:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Loved this! Sounds like home. Lived those conversations all my life and learned to explain things from 3 different perspectives to imbue the idea, learned it from Dad. Another thing I learned is that keeping face and saving face are just as imortant as the context of the conversation. Thanks for the memories revisited. KZH

July 25, 2006 8:59 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home