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September 23, 2005
Still Got It

How to have fun and surprise the maintenance/janitorial staff at your office: address them — properly — in their native language.

The janitorial staff at my office (and many offices all over the country, I would guess) consists of recent immigrants. Unlike California (for instance) where the immigrants are more likely than not to be of Latin American origin, the people here (and at many other offices in Research Triangle Park, NC) are Asian, usually Korean. The pre-printed bi-lingual "this is trash" and "this is not trash" stickers that are used to identify materials which can or cannot be disposed of are a bit of a giveaway to an old linguist like me.

In the past, I'd rarely ever run into any of the staff – they tend to come after hours when most of the engineers are long gone. But now, I work in a 24x7 facility, on the 2nd shift (nominally 3pm to midnight, but I'm usually here cleaning up network messes until 1am or 2am. Or later... as in, racing to get home before sunrise.) The cleaners come through at about 8.

So last night, while passing their crew-leader fellow in the hallway, I whipped out a little Korean on him. The polite version, not the informal almost-slangy GI version.

Me: "안녕하십니까?" (Roughly, "Hello.")

Him: Stunned disbelief.

Me (to myself): "Heheh."

I think maybe I'll try chatting up the 20-something girl on the crew.

[Maybe I could show her the moderately amazing Google Translator, so she could read fine sites like Outside the Beltway... in Korean.]

Posted by Russ at 12:37 PM, September 23, 2005 in Fun

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Careful Russ, as you are as old as I, sometimes the newer models have options that we can't handle . . .

Posted by: Rob at September 24, 2005 08:30 AM

And all that youthful energy, too. When did you go through DLI? (I'm assuming, of course) I went through in 79-80.

Posted by: Cowboy Blob at September 29, 2005 12:56 AM

I was at DLI (Monterey) '86-'87, and in Korea from 4/88 - 10/90.

Posted by: Russ [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 29, 2005 01:10 AM