I have an app called Fluentu which I use every day to help with my language practice. The way it works is that you select your language, and then you watch videos culled from the internet which help you to learn vocabulary and grammar from actual native speakers. These are real videos, not videos created specifically to teach you vocabulary or grammar, and it covers everything from children’s shows to songs to movie advertisements to comedy sketches…. real videos that native speakers created so you can see the language used in normal situations.
The past two weeks, I’ve come across a video in the intermediate Japanese range that I absolutely love. The English title is “Stop Irritating Me!” Complete with exclamation point.
It’s a cutesy animated video of a choir marching through a town and singing about all the things they encounter which are irritating, like a shop worker reading a magazine on his break even when there is a long line at the register, someone who says they’re not a person who watches tv when other people are discussing celebrities, a guy who takes his girlfriend into the adult section of the video rental store, etc.
The opening line of the song goes:
Ohisama pokapoka odekake biyori, machi ni ha iraira suru koto bakari…
The sun is shining warmly, it’s perfect weather for an outing, in the town there are nothing but irritating things.
This whole day has felt like that song for me. Maybe I’ll try to come up with a cute song in Japanese, but for now, here’s a raw overview of all the things that went wrong for me:
The bus was 15 minutes late, making me 15 minutes late for work. That is a very concise statement, but I was on the bus for over an hour, getting more and more irritated as the ride progressed. “Why did we slow down for that fucker who isn’t even getting on, now we’re stuck waiting for a break in traffic to get back into the lane we need.” “You don’t actually have to wait for the elderly couple to take their seats before you start driving, just go!” “Have there always been this many fucking stop signs?”
And don’t get me started on the train which had to stop because there was a train stopped on the platform ahead of us. Because the Washington metropolitan area transit authority (wmata) irrationally hates blue line riders and wants to ensure every day is a nightmare of abysmal service for us. Not good enough they run our trains only every 12 minutes even in rush hour, but they have to keep us waiting while more important lines get to service the platform first. If trains are more than 2 minutes apart even in rush hour (fellow wmata riders will scoff at the idea of trains every 2 minutes) how is spacing such an issue that there is still a train on the platform ahead of us?
Then, after a long day at work, I come home to 2 scary looking pieces of mail. The first has the name of a hospital I visited in May on the envelope so I’m freaked out that maybe there’s yet another bill they didn’t send me yet. I decide to wait on that one, so I open the other one. It’s from my dentist, for nearly the full amount of my last visit because they just gave up on my step-mom’s insurance paying up, I guess. I know her insurance is processing but now I have to take time out of my day tomorrow to waste my time calling the dental office and getting it squared.
Feeling terrified as I always am when a big scary medical bill comes, I open the hospital’s envelope. It turns out it’s not a bill, thank God. No, the fuckers want me to make a donation to them. Straight to the trash with that junk, and to hell with them for giving me a medical bill related heart attack. That’s probably why they ask for donations, to scare you so much when you see a hospital logo that you do have a heart attack and go straight back to them, giving way more money in the long run than the $5, $10, $15, $25, or $50 they suggest you give as a “grateful patient,” yes, so grateful you have access to the best medical care in the world, don’t you want to help someone else have that experience?
So, to top off this shitfest of a day, the wifi has been out since I got home (I’m writing this on my phone, using data). It wasn’t out when my boyfriend left earlier to pick me up from the train station. It’s been out for more than an hour and a half. Our landlady is out and we can’t find the router, and my connection to data sucks in our basement room. I took a shower, hoping the problem would have just fixed itself by the time I got out, but it’s still not fixed. I have a tendency to hulk out and murder my loved ones like Heracles driven mad by Hera whenever I am deprived of the Internet, so, you know, maybe pray for my boyfriend right now.
Let’s see what I’ve got:
Bus driver who doesn’t apologize after I waited more than 15 minutes. Irritating irritating irritating!
Train constantly stopping before the station for no reason. Irritating irritating irritating!
Not being able to use the Internet while I read scary mail when I come home late. Irritating irritating irritating!
Well there you go, people who always bitch at me to make a negative into a positive, I used my murderous rage at lack of Internet to practice Japanese and flex my creative muscles.