It seems that most of the problems of those of us learning Croatian language are to do with cases. And this little story of an unfortunate experience in Zagreb is also about cases – well, a different sort of case.
And here is another example of my misunderstanding Croatian. Lost in translation? Or just lost?
This is my phone - Samsung S8. There are four ports at the bottom – for speaker, microphone, charger and headset jack. I use an easily removable plastic case.
The case (cover?) has four holes in the bottom over the ports.
Like many others, when I go to another country for while, I replace my Australian SIM card with a local one.
And I did just that in Zagreb recently. I went to the Tele2 (pronounced Tele Dva) store on the edge of the main square, Trg bana Josipa Jelačića.
I explain to my friends Steve and Joyce what I will do, and ask them to wait for me ….
I go into the store ….. The salesman is Antonio.
“Želio bih SIM karticu za turiste, molim vas.”
No probs – Antonio took off the plastic case, changed the SIM, and gave me back my phone.
I put the plastic case back on.
He said something to me (in Croatian). I had no idea what he said. So, as I usually do when embarrassed, I didn’t admit my ignorance - I just nodded and said “Da, da.”
I went out into the square, joined my friends, and checked the phone.
All of the text and badges on the main screen were upside down!
I went to Settings to find how to up-end the main screen. I swiped. I tapped. I squeezed, but the image wouldn't turn around, no matter with I did.
What the heck did that Tele2 guy do!!!!!!? Did he put the SIM card in upside down?
I went back into the shop to give him a piece of my mind.
Što ste napravili? Čini mi se da ste naopako stavili SIM karticu u mobitel!
Antonio reacts with a rather patronising smile and some disbelief.
Bob thinks: Sveznalica! Know all! Typical of young people to think that we oldies have got no idea when it comes to IT. Nemojte me tako gledati! Vi ste napravili problem. Nisam ja kriv! [Don’t look at me like that! You created the problem. It’s not my fault!]
Antonio took my phone from me, and did a not-very complicated operation …
He turned the case around 180°. Somehow, everything on my home screen was up the right way!
Ooooops! I realize now what he told me when I put the cover on after he had inserted the new SIM ….
Congratulations, young salesman … you kept such a straight face.
But were the sympathetic looks on the faces of the other customers just in my imagination?
You might say that I was a little embarrassed! But was I going to admit to my stupidity to my friends? No way!
“On je ispravio svoju pogrešku. Sada sve je uredu.” [He fixed up his mistake. Now everything is up the right way.]
Thanks to Antonio for cooperating. And thanks also to Steve and Joyce for pretending to believe that it was not my fault.
Zašto vam pričam ovu priču? Sramim se!
Click here to go to Aha! Croatian: A ROAD MAP