A Little Bitty German Lesson

October 28, 2009

Remember? Back in your college days? When your roommate would poke their head down from the top bunk, give you a big goofy smile, and then puke all over your head?

I remember it, too. And right now the memories are especially vibrant--you know, since I seem to be experiencing it all over again. Except this time around my roommate is bald, hovers somewhere in the eight-pound range, and she's not able to mutter four-hundred drunken apologies all in a row.

Long story short, I've got college on the brain. And thanks to a set of these ridiculously cute babylegs (exceptionally thorough tutorial can be found here thankyouverymuch), my old roommate is really swirling around in there.

And no, she never even came close to barfing on my face.

I moved in with Sarah during the first two weeks of my seniorish year of college--I say seniorish because all total, college took me 9ish semesters to complete. Anyway, during the first semester of that year we had a third roommate named Krista, who was barely ever around. All in all, I remember three things about her:

1) She had a really nasty cat named Fisher.
2) She was rugged. If my memory serves me correctly, she was on the woodsmen team (yes, when you go to college in Maine, that's a very real thing), and her boyfriend's ex-girlfriend had a tattoo of a battleship.
3) The cops brought her home really late one night after an incident at the gas station involving the nacho cheese dispenser.

I really liked that girl.

At the close of the first semester, Krista decided to transfer schools and follow her boyfriend to the northernmost town in Maine--the kind of place where they grow potatoes, drive riding lawnmowers instead of cars, and live in underground caves. Or so I've heard. But really, it didn't matter where she was moving, we had to find a new roommate.

So we put out an ad.

And got a ton of responses.

And one of the responses was from a married German PhD student. A guy named Volker.

Sarah didn't want to live with a guy, and I knew my father would hang me upside down by the crack of my ass if I even considered living with a man, so it obviously wasn't meant to be. But we were really nice, and we didn't want to hurt Volker's tender, foreign feelings, so we invited him over for an interview.

Volker was a really nice guy. He was looking for a calm, quiet place to live for a couple of months until his pregnant wife arrived in the States. He was too old to be a partier, to meek to be a trouble maker, and spent most of his time riding around town on his bicycle--probably ringing the bell and waving to old ladies and babies.

But still, he was a guy. Not workable.

At the end of the roommate interview, something happened that I will never ever forget. Sarah goes, "So I don't know any German. How do you pronounce your name? Is it Volker?" And she said "Volker" exactly the way it's spelled, emphasis on the V, L and K.

And Volker was like, "No, it sounds like this: Focker."

And I snorted and immediately said, "Excuse me," trying to pass it off as a fart.

Sarah flashed me a glance that clearly said Help Me!, and I flashed one back that said Not a Chance, Woman!, and Sarah tried again. She goes, "So it's Vocker?" This time she put a whole lot of emphasis on the V.

And he was like, "No. It's Focker."

And she was all, "Folker?" adding the L back in.

And Volker replies, "No, it's Focker. The V sounds like an F and the L is silent."

Well there's no arguing with that kind of explanation, love it or hate it, the dude's name was pronounced Focker.

And just like that, Sarah jumped to her feet, whipped open the front door, showed him the way out like a very attentive stewardess and said, "Well it was nice to meet you, Focker. Don't call us, we'll call you."

We never did.

(True story, I swear--Sarah'll vouch for me in the comments and she's definitely not the lying type. I still think we should've sued for some kind of rights when the movie Meet the Parents was released.)


Christina said...

That's hilarious! Those German names are somethin' else!!! I'd have let him move in, he seemed harmless enough. (And no cat!)

JAMIE said...

Volker should probably stay in Germany. :)

Morgan and Derek said...

German is awesome. The word for "fat" in German is "dick." Yup. Now, go and use that to your advantage.

Michemily said...

Hmm, that's weird, because that's not how they say it over here . . . it rhymes with "soaker" with the tiniest bit of L in it. Whatever. Pretty sure mixed living here is completely normal and it has taken me forever to get used to that.

Katy said...

OMG! I totally forgot about that!

Sarah said...

I had forgotten about it too! It took me a while to recover this memory but I did and it's totally true. I have German heritage...maybe that's why we gave him a shot.

chattypatra said...

Oh, man, you mean to tell me you passed on the chance to live your own Three's Company? Ha! Poor man.

Cheryl said...

Hilarious! I'm glad I can read your blog and find out all the stuff that happened in college that Sarah never told me about! :-)