July 14, 2007.
My brain hurts from the sheer amount of language being shoved into my short-term memory. Hopefully it will migrate into my long-term memory. Inshallah. Since I really have nothing to post due to my general business (which will persist until the end of August), I will share a second-hand anecdote. It is a conversation between an Afghan in America and a local.
Afghan: This Coke you are drinking is different?
American: Yes. It is a Diet Coke.
American: It has no sugar in it.
Afghan: It has honey in it maybe?
American: No. There is no sweetener.
American: In koka-kola shirin nest.
Afghan: OK, OK. So you put in your own sugar?
American: No. You drink it the way it is.
Afghan: It is much less expansive?
Afghan: Yes, less expansive.
American: You mean arzontar?
American: You mean less expensive.
Afghan: Yes. Less expansive. Cheaper.
American: No. It is the same price. It has no sweetness. It is is for people who want to lose weight.
Afghan: But you are not fat.
American: It is also for people who don’t want to gain more weight.
Afghan: Why not?
American: I don’t want to become fat.
Afghan: Aha, OK. Is the flavour good?
American: No, not really. But this one has lime flavour added.
Afghan: But limes are not very sweet.
American: Yes. That is the point.
The conversation just goes in circles from this point. I’ll just be an insensitive orientalist and say that diet products are just beyond the comprehension of your average Afghan. It would be like trying to make an old Frechman understand the Atkins Diet (no bread or pasta). My friend added to this an anecdote about living in Uzbekistan. He was poured a glass of regular coke, which is OK. But then his host handed him a sugar bowl so he could sweeten it further. Yuk.
I’m pretty sure this quote is an original of mine:
“East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet. Particularly in regards to diet cola.”