I don’t know!

This week’s challenge at Dude Write is to tell an embarrassing true story, but keep it under 1500 characters.

That’s around 200-300 words.

Damnit, but I like my words!

Anyways, here we go:

I moved to Denmark from Ukraine at the age of 14. I spoke no Danish at the time, because Russian and Danish languages are a bit different. Shocking, I know.

I did learn one phrase though. That phrase was “Det ved jeg ikke”, Danish for “I don’t know”. From that point on I used that phrase liberally to get out of all conversations. I was exactly 4% more eloquent than Hodor from Game Of Thrones, who only ever says “Hodor”.

One day I was on a bus, when a kindergarten teacher with 10 children in tow got on. She took all the kids to the back of the bus where I sat and started saying something to me.

I countered with my perfectly rehearsed “Det ved jeg ikke”.

Suddenly, the woman looked very upset and, in an angry voice, said “Det ved du ikke?!” (“du” is “you” in Danish).

I shook my head “no”, puzzled by her violent reaction to my poor Danish skills. How could I have upset her so much with my limited vocabulary?

Then she grabbed one of the kids, sat down sulkily next to me, and plopped the kid onto her lap. She kept glancing at me and shaking her head in frustration.

It was only after a few stops that I’d managed to piece the puzzle together in my head. She must have asked me whether I could move to another seat, so that she could sit down together with all the kids. When I said “I don’t know” she heard “I will not“.

Fun fact: “vil” (will) and “ved” (know) sound remarkably similar.

So I have effectively told her and the kids to go screw themselves.

Class act, Daniel.

26 thoughts on “I don’t know!

    • I know, right?! Somebody had to tell them off! First they make you move for those kids…what’s next? Asking you to help them with heavy bags or something?! Unbelievable!


  1. I was new to the Spanish language, and, in my excitement to try it out on someone who actually spoke the language, I somehow managed to tell him I loved him instead of asking him what his name was.


  2. Offending a poor kinder teacher with one word (told in a 300 word story). Nicely done! I’ve tried Spanish in Italy. Sort of worked but I needed to add the hands to get my point across. So maybe I’m better at sign language. Wait, I’m confused or confusing!


  3. Kianwi says:

    I can say I don’t know in Russian, German and Spanish. I took a year of Russian and two years of German, and that’s about all I remember anymore of either, sadly. But if you are going to know one phrase, that’s a good one! As long as you get it right, and it’s heard correctly, apparently 🙂

    When I was in Honduras, I remember talking to some people from up in the mountains. They could not understand a thing I said. They would ask someone else, “what did she say?” and the other person would repeat word for word what I said, and the mountain people would then understand. It was so frustrating! Pronunciation makes such a difference.


    • Ha, tell me about it.

      Man, that must feel quite frustrating to have people talk “to you” in third person when you’re there, trying. But hey, we’ve all been there I guess! Just follow my lead and tell them to fuck off. Works like a charm, obviously!


  4. Haha! She probably still talks about you to this day…

    When does voting start for your “Not Ready” piece over at Dude Write? I have the page bookmarked. Just waiting for that little ‘vote’ button to appear, the one I struggled to find last time, the one that was cleverly hidden directly beneath your entry.


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