Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Deep Thoughts: Translation Please

The other day at a major national chain of coffee restaurants featuring a green logo highlighting a mermaid, that shall remain nameless so that I may feel better about not boosting their over bloated sales through my own little advertisement efforts. We all know this place to be the purveyor of that delicious black substance we love and understand as coffee, it was in this place that a question was posed to me as I attempted to purchase some coffee beans.

The cagey barista asked the beardy gamer if he would like his 1 LB bag of coffee ground up in the store. Of course he responded yes, which is where the use of the English language completely fell apart for these two veterans of totally different systems, as she asked him, “What do you brew with?”

Pausing for a moment the beardy veteran responded, “Uhhhh, Water?”

After an elongated pause, head tilt and one eye squint from the cagey barista, she giggled and replied, “No, I meant what kind of filter do you use?”

Pausing for a moment the beardy veteran wondered when purchasing coffee became so difficult and responded, “Errrm, Paper?”

Another extended pause, with double eye twitch thrown in this time for variation from the Barista, “No I mean cone or flat bottom.”

Sheepishly the beardy gamer responded that it was, in fact, a flat bottom paper filter and quickly left the store after completing his purchase.

Now while our story appears comical, and even perhaps a bit farcical, it is completely true and serves to point out our own use of specialized terms in our hobby. The barista made the assumption that common vernacular in her industry was understood and used by me. However, she assumed that by asking me “what do you brew with” would automatically translate in my head to “what kind of filter and or coffee pot do you use because that will change the size of the grounds I make for you”. Her assumption was proved to be incorrect.

We commit this very same error when we toss a group of dice and utter the words, ‘Now my FNP roll’; completely loosing the new gamer in what we think are commonly understood terms and circumstances. Why did you toss that many dice? What is FNP? While these terms and uses are commonly understood to us, for an ‘outsider’ they can be very intimidating.

Next time there is a newcomer event or you are playing against someone new to the hobby, remember back to our beardy veteran and the cagey barista in the battle of the coffee grounds. Don’t assume that the poor guy with the bag of coffee knows what you are talking about when you ask, “What do you brew with”.



1 comment:

  1. That just got real deep, real fast. I like it though, good thoughts.