At my company, we’re spread across not only many different floors of a building, but across many different cities and countires. Often, the people you communicate with the most are in a completely different country than you. For that reason, we employ none other than MSN Messenger (a.k.a. IM) to do the bulk of our petty communication and nattering. Aside from being much quicker than the immense tortoise that is Lotus Notes, it saves on long distance calls.
Communicating with someone in a foreign country over IM can often be frustrating, as IM isn’t a medium that exactly encourages good spelling, grammar or manners. Moreover, there will often be long delays when either you or the person on the other end is busily perusing their English-to-_______ dictionary and the other of you is wondering why the conversation suddenly ceased. Generally, though, the communications are just amusing.
Take today’s conversation for example. Since tonight is the first night of Hanukkah, I posted the following prayer this morning as my “personal greeting” on Messenger:
Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha-olam, shehecheyanu, v’kiyemanu, vehigi-anu laz’man hazeh.
Before long, I had an IM from a fellow I work with in Spain:
Mario: is that german?
K: Nope, Hebrew.
Mario: i see
Mario: what is it’s meaning?
K: It’s a Hebrew prayer. It means “Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, Who has kept us in life, sustained us, and brought us to this moment.”
K: It’s for the first night of Hanukkah, which is tonight.
K: Thanks. 🙂
Mario: are you from there?
K: From where?
Mario: from hebrew country
Mario: from there where they are speaking hebrew?
Mario: are you hebrew?
(Offline, I’m giggling like hell now because I’m imagining a whole place called “Hebrewland” or “Hebrewonia” or maybe even “Hebrewistan”)
K: No, I’m not Jewish. I’m not from Israel, either. I’m just plain old American.
Mario: i see
Mario: that is strange
K: I have a lot of Jewish friends; I was just wishing them Happy Hanukkah.
Mario: whatever you say
I now totally think that Israel was the wrong choice for a country name. Clearly, Mario thinks so, too. Hebrew Country, indeed.
Also? It’s not only Americans that are rotten at geography. Suck on that, rest of the world!