May 7th, 2005

Musings from 10th and Broadway

Well, I'm staying in downtown Oakland for the first time. And I can't sleep. But I did have the pleasure of taking a walk down to De Lauer's -- nothing else is open after midnight -- where I perused the huge selection of Dover Thrift Editions, looked at some art and film magazines, and bought a bag of Doritos to tide me over. There and back I was reminded of how safe I feel walking around in downtown Tucson because, though I wasn't shuddering in fear, I knew I had to be maximally alert during each step of my four-block journey. On the way back into the Marriott I had the delightful experience -- I mean that sincerely -- of being hassled by the hotel's night watchmen, who asked me what room I was in, then what my name was, then claimed that there was no record of me. It must have been my pinkish red polo shirt and khakis that made me look suspicious. Seriously, I've seen lots of people in this hotel and none of them are white. I suppose I'm being treated to the inverse of the driving-while-not-white situation that confronts young males of color on California's freeways. I didn't mind paying psychological reparations because it was clear that the hotel staffers were having fun with me. Whatever. It's all good. I will say that this hotel has really nice rooms and a great view. It could be worse. I could be confined to a tiny room afraid of making noise that would incur the wrath of my friend's high-strung partner. Right?

Translation Exercise

The title of my last entry was in German:
Laß mich in Ruhe, ohne Ruhe, berührt vom Riß zwischen der Ruhe und dem Rest
I thought I'd take counter_memory's lead and play with a translation engine to see what results I'd get.

I tried Babelfish. Here's the German translated into English:
Leave me affected in peace, without peace, by the tear between the peace and the remainder
Then into Spanish:
Déjeme afectado en paz, sin paz, por el rasgón entre la paz y el resto
Then into Dutch:
Afectadoen van Déjeme paz, zonde paz, por resto van Gr rasgón entre La paz y Gr
Then into French:
Afectadoen de Déjeme paz, le péché paz, le por resto van Gr rasgón entre tiroir paz y gr
Then back into German:
Afectadoen von Déjeme paz die Sünde paz, das por Restaurant Van Gr rasgón zwischen Schublade paz gr dort
And finally back to English
Afectadoen of Déjeme paz the sin paz, por the restaurant Van Gr rasgón between drawer paz gr there
Pretty strange, isn't it?

I realized, though, that I'd made the mistake off translating the Dutch into Spanish even though there's no option to do that. No wonder everything went so rapidly awry! So I went back and translated the Spanish above into French instead:
Déjeme touché en paix, sans paix, par le rasgón entre la paix et le reste
Then back into German:
Déjeme, das in Frieden ohne Frieden durch das rasgón zwischen dem Frieden und dem Rest betroffen ist
And again back into English, where I've taken the liberty of italicizing the words that are clearly "foreign":
Déjeme, which is concerned between the peace and the remainder in peace without peace by rasgón
Got that?

I next tried for something less absurd, starting with German into French:
Laisser-moi dans un repos, sans repos, affecté de la déchirure entre le repos et le reste
And then into Spanish:
Dejar en un descanso, sin descanso, afectado del rasgón entre el descanso y el resto
And back to English:
To leave in a rest, without rest, affected of rasgón between the rest and the rest
That captures the bilingual pun quite nicely, but the word rasgón still needs translation, which Babelfish won't provide:
To leave in a rest, without rest, affected of rip between the rest and the rest.
Fix the prepositions and articles and you get something that comes reasonably close to what I was trying to convey in the German:
To leave at rest, without rest, affected by the rip between rest and the rest.
The imperative in the original German is important, though, so I'll work that in:
Let me rest, without rest, affected by the rip between rest and the rest.
One more pass and I have something I can live with:
Let me rest, restless, feeling the rip between rest and the rest.
Time to head back to my more melancholy pursuits.