Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Eyes of a Psychopath

Monday through Wednesday my German class is taught by a subdued and bashful lady called Corrina. Thursday introduced us to Martin, her ADHD counterpart. He made us do extended introductions and I came to learn that my classmates are generally all Bohemian artist/musician/designer types. The Japanese student is learning the language primarily so he can read some abstract Austrian philosopher's original works. When my turn came I meekly explained that I am a hausfrau, here because my husband has a job.

Martin doesn't let us speak English. We ended class on Friday with a worksheet about parents and children. We were presented with 3 photographs of children and 3 photographs of parents and had to match them based on short descriptive paragraphs. He questioned us for whom we thought belonged to whom. He asked me about the third parent-child match and I basically had no good reason. But looking at the picture I said, "Well this daughter and mother both have crazy eyes." Martin asked "Why do you think she has crazy eyes?" I had no idea how to explain this in German. I tried to think of the translation for "silly" and then remembered that in German silly=dumb. So I said "I don't know, she has a dumb face?"

Everyone laughed and Martin taught us the word for "to stare." My British classmate passionately disagreed. "The mother has friendly eyes. The mother in the first picture is the one with the eyes of a psychopath!" This devolved into our class arguing about who had psychopathic eyes and what exactly constituted psychopathic eyes.

So, should I have to describe someone to the police, I know how to say "crazy eyes" "dumb face" and "looks like a psychopath." That's real world knowledge. And I was right about the mother and daughter belonging to each other. You can always tell by the eyes.

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