Pohovor Z Pekla! (Job Interview from Hell!)

Look at meThe Russian sitting across from me is an anomaly of the human form and yet a normal occurrence in the land of Russian women. She is approximately six feet tall, with blonde hair, a Barbie Doll frame and the cobalt blue eyes of a KGB “information gathering expert.”

Her name is something I have either forgotten or never understood in the first place. We are involved in a role play in which she is interviewing me for position of translator. I want this job badly.

My weekly Czech lessons are somewhat indicative of what it is to be a language teacher. There are 24 people on the list – mostly Russians, a few Vietnamese, a Kazakh, two Germans and me. Of those 24 people, two people show up every week: me and one random Russian Goddess. Interestingly, the Russian Goddess who arrives each week is never the same girl. It’s as though they are sent from a vault hidden beneath the university meant to distract me from my studies or reward me for arriving every week.

As I sit across from this one, translating her questions, it occurs to me that I still can’t figure out whether it is punishment or reward. My eyes actively search for her face. The interview continues.

After a few questions about my education and qualifications, answered with ease and yawns, I decide that a little more spice can be thrown into this interview. So this is what happens.

Me: „Jak se jmenuje tvuj pes?“ What is your dog’s name?

Russian Goddess: „Pes?“ Dog?

Me: „Modrá pes na gauč.“ The blue dog on the couch.

RG: (Turns to the imaginary couch) „ Pes je moje. Tak, proč šel jste do Kanady?“ The dog is mine. So, why did you go to Canada?

Me: „Co nejí?” What does he eat?

RG: „Jidlo pro psy.” Dog food. „Proč šel jste do Kanady?“ Why did you go to Canada?

Me: „Byl jsem agentem a…prostitut.“ I was a spy and…a prostitute.

RG: „Byl jsi agentem? Nechceme agentem tady!” You were a spy? We don’t want a spy here!

Me: „Tak, byl jsem taky prostitut a můžu…napsat na…počítač.” Well, I was also a prostitute and I can…write on the computer (I lack the word ‘type’.)

It’s fair to say at this point that the Russian Goddess is onto my momentary shenanigans and decides to play along. The teacher is taking notes. I can not read his thoughts on the direction that the interview has taken.

RG: (Tossing her pen on the table) A jste studoval, že kdy byl jsi prostitute?” And did you learn that when you were a prostitute?

Me: „Určitě ne!” Of course not!

RG: „Jste měl zubní pojištění?” Did you have dental insurance?

Me: „Ne. To je proč jsem šel.” No. It’s why I left.

RG: „Nemůžu ti dat prace. Ale, Můžu ti dat modrá pes.“ I can’t give you a job, but I can give you a blue dog.

The teacher stops us there and asks us if I have been successful. The Russian Goddess tells him in broken, yet great detail how I was not the kind of person the translation company is looking for. I hang my head in shame. She consoles me by reminding me that I have a new blue dog that eats dog food. Still, there is an odor of shame in the classroom now.

The class ends and I go off to my office to pet and feed my imaginary blue dog. Russian Goddess runway walks out of the classroom, surely on her way back to the vault, which I have got to find one of these days.

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