Ana battkelemish 3araby. I don’t speak Arabic.
The garbage man came to the door this afternoon and began speaking to me in Arabic to which I answered “Ana battkalemish 3araby.”
The problem: the TV was on loudly in the background blasting Nogoom on the satellite radio playing a particularly Egyptian song. Just moments before I had been standing in my living room with the broomstick on my shoulders a la balady cane dancing shaking my tailfeathers. Also, I have, in my five months of being here, said the words “ana battkalemish 3araby” so many times that I have acquired a quite fluent accent in it. When I say it, they no longer believe me.
The garbage man looked at me like I was trying to make him into a monkey and started speaking to me again in Arabic to which, in desperation, I answered him in English in the hopes that it would confuse him.
Eventually I realized he wanted the money for the month and I paid him and he left. I had the same issue earlier on today with the woman who comes to wash our steps and front walkway.
I really shouldn’t have learned how to say “I don’t speak Arabic” in such fluent Arabic until I could back it up with enough Arabic to no longer have to say it.
Ah, such is life.
Also, separate but slightly related, why do the doorbells here sound like birds being strangled? Does anyone find that better than the melodic ringing of bells? It is better than the gameshow buzzer x10 that we have for a doorbell in the states, but seriously. I jump ten feet every time someone rings the door.