Sunday, April 22, 2007

Message in a Bottle: Sending out an SMS

It’s weird when a guy breaks up with you and you’re not even his girlfriend. “Sorry, Lars. I mean … Lasse… didn’t realize we were in a relationship?” seems such a lame response.

That’s happened to me in Denmark. It’s even weirder when he chooses to do it in a text message. That’s happened to me as well. It’s the weirdest, however, when he writes the break-up SMS missive in a language you don’t speak.

And he knows you don’t speak it. So, he writes something that he
knows you’ll need help in translating by a fluent danish/english speaker. Which could come in the form of, say, the blonde gentleman in a gray suit sitting next to you on the train from Høje Taastrup to København. Who politely stammers, “I’m sorry, but it’s not a match,” um…. “I wish you off. Tax! Wait no… I wish you well, sweetie.” Yes, that’s it.

You can do two things in a sticky situation such as that, assuming you’re unable to lunge for the nearest emergency escape hatch. Lick your lips and smile broadly at your seatmate in such a way that shows composure and grace. Always take the high road, and if he asks you if you’re okay, respond, “Oh, yeah! I just hope Lasse gets the help he needs.” An illusive story to deflect all blame works like a charm. Adds to the 'hygge' in the train cabin.

If this ever happens to you, the second step is a bit trickier and calls for creativity. Peer around the cabin for a person who looks like an expatriate, equally as non-danish as you. Avoid anyone wearing hemp bracelets and white sneakers (American), or anyone with a massive maple-leaf stitched to their backpack (Canadian). Preferably find a young woman who hails from Poland, Turkey, Pakistan or Namibia; someone with dark eyes that have seen a lot.

There’s an unwritten rule between foreigners in Denmark that you help each other out when in trouble. We all seem to speak the same language, which is called nøtdanish.

Once spotted, plunk yourself down in the seat across from her and say, “
Undskyld! Can you please translate something for me into your native language , [Polish]?”

Then, feverishly jam your thumbs into your mobile phone until you’ve written the following message: “Powitaninia! Porządku. Wy jesteście odurzonymi człowiekiem! i czuję współczucie do waszego *bony* osioł!

In English, it would mean, “Hi! Nimrod! I wish you (and your bony! ass) all the best in love and life! Ta-ta.”

Again, keep it classy. The exclamation points! will convey cheerfulness and civility! Once you’ve fired off the text message, say thank you to your kind savior and return to seat number one.

Proceed to set up a date with the blonde guy. Everything else will sort itself out from there.

(April 14, 2007... Arild, Sweden).


Alikona said...

I swear we will have to write a book someday about all of our lame break ups!

Just out of curious...did the lame nimrod SMS back??

Not quite sure which is worse...the mute American boy or the pompous Dane who thinks he's Shakespeare with a mobile phone.

Anonymous said...