For the Birds

I was sitting at the lunch table with my boyfriend and his parents. They’re all German, mind you. We were making small talk by watching the birds outside in the birdbath and identifying them. In the spirit of learning, boyfriend’s dad whips out the bird book so I can flip through it and learn some new bird names. I managed to identify one of the birds as a chickadee with the help of the book and was ready to drop some mad bird knowledge. I turned to boyfriend’s dad and said confidently “Guck mal, du hast eine Meise.” Boyfriend slapped his hand on his forehead, his mom started giggling and his dad’s eyes got big right before he burst into laughter. Shit. I thought. What did I just say? It turns out, my translation was correct in a direct way. I did say “Look, you have a chickadee.” What I didn’t know, was that what that actually means in a colloquial way is “You’ve lost your marbles.” So rather than dazzling everyone with my superior bird watching skills, I called my boyfriend’s dad crazy.


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