Natia makes me laugh all the time. If I think she is funny when only understanding a portion of her broken English, I can only imagine that my sides would be hurting and jaws locked in pain from laughing so much if I understood every nuance of her humor. Here are a few of Natia’s classics:
Georgian towns and villages are very tightknit communities. Everyone knows everyone and their business. If you want someone’s attention you simply yell from the street until they hear you and come outside. Natia doesn’t ‘like’ all of the neighbors on the street. But she has a handful that she likes very much. One being Badri who lived on the corner, four houses down. Badri would come to visit fairly often. Sometimes not even to talk. He would slide into the sitting area and watch television with us. Badri passed away about two months ago.
Our neighbor on the left is Manana. She is an older lady with the nicest disposition. I usually see her perched in her window with looks directly into our house. She hasn’t been around lately because she feel ill and is now in the hospital. She isn’t showing any signs of recovering.
The other day, I was coming home from town. I had been hanging out with some friends, but it threatened to rain. I DO NOT like being wet in Georgia. It is painfully inconvenient. So I started my 20 minute walk home. On the way, I saw Natia who was doing some grocery shopping. She told me that if I wait for 5 minutes, she would get a taxi and we could go home together. Sweet!
As we were going home, Natia told me that the neighbor on the OTHER side of us was ill with heart issues. “Wow, another person ill”, I thought to myself. Natia, without missing a beat says, “Badri is dead. Manana is in hospital. Dato is ill. Next year at this time, I will have no neighbors on my street!”
Gurami lost his job last fall. When he is not messing around in the backyard farm, he is helping other neighbors or relatives with their chores (I guess). Two nights ago, I came downstairs and he was asleep on the swing chair. It was a little early to find him sleeping.
Natia said that he was stung by bees at his uncles house. Gurami is allergic and got puffy and red all over. If he hadn’t gotten medicine, Natia said, he would have died. Fortunately, a neighbor had some penicillin. She says all of this laughing. “Natia!!” I say, “That’s not funny! He could have died!!” She replies, “I ask Gurami to help me around the house he says no. Someone else asks Gurami and he goes. He knows he is allergic to bees and goes to help with the bees. I tell him to get medicine to have in the house. He never gets it. I know its not funny, Sanchez (she says with a mischievous grin)…. BUUUTTTTT….. I’m sorry, but not sorry.”
You Love Georgia
Whenever something inconvenient happens like the power going out, Natia always shakes her head approvingly and says, “You like Georgia very much, Sanchez!”
If the water stops working, “You like Georgia very much, Sanchez!”
When it’s soo cold I can not bear to go to bed, “You like Georgia very much, Sanchez!”
When it rains for days, “You like Georgia very much, Sanchez!”
“Nothing is a joke with me. It just all comes out like one”- Lorrie Moore