Friday, October 28, 2005

Bird, Work, or Laundry Flu?

On Wednesday afternoon I got to the archive only to have the horrible feeling that I was about to come down with the flu or some such thing. This did not deter me from sticking around and looking through Jindřich Štyrský’s will and estate documents, or even from trying to make sense of the curious notations in an early pocket calendar that had belonged to Vítězslav Nezval, but my heart was not really in it and I left somewhat before closing time to drink large amounts of tea and much smaller amounts of Becherovka (which is supposed to be good for one). This morning I was relieved to find that I not only had not really come down with the flu (merely with some sort of minor indisposition) and in particular that I was not going to drop dead of the dreaded Bird Flu. I don’t know to what degree Bird Flu is currently worrying the United States, but the Czech media seems to run stories on it pretty much every day. Last I heard, it had reached Romania or Hungary, but I have not been following the story all that closely and am mainly trying to make sure I have a good supply of food in case it does become a pandemic and I become a recluse. (Of course, none of the flu viruses in my lifetime have lived up to their scare potential, but you never know. Both Egon Schiele and Bohumil Kubišta succumbed to the 1918 Spanish flu.)
More amusingly, I have discovered that in a recent e-mail I wrote “Nemam praci chripku” (I don’t have work flu) rather than “Nemam ptaci chripku”(I don’t have bird flu), which must be some sort of Freudian slip. Although, now that I think about it, depending on where one puts the accents, it could also have been that I didn’t have the laundry flu (the email did not employ any diacriticals, as it is so hard to get them to arrive correctly at the other end). Věra, who tutored me in Czech last fall and who now kindly gives my conversational skills a workout on Tuesday nights, claims that while my grammar is imperfect, I’m very comprehensible, but I have my doubts about this, especially if I’m going to be under the influence of work flu or laundry flu.



Blogger morskyjezek said...

Actually, wouldn't the laundry flu be praní chřipka? :)

October 30, 2005 6:31 PM  
Blogger Karla said...

Well, I bow to your superior knowledge of correct Czech, but when I typed "praci" into my dictionary, it came up with both "práci" and "prací" if I remember correctly. But yes, it does seem as though the laundry flu would be more likely to be "praní chřipka." "Prací" seems to be the term used for laundry soap and washable curtains, as in "prací prášek" and "prací záclony."

October 30, 2005 7:23 PM  

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