Saturday, 24 July 2010
I was driving on the motorway yesterday when I passed a nasty car crush. Automatically, without giving it much thought, I pulled on my ear lobe with my index and big fingers, made a noise that can be vaguely described as sucking through my teeth, and then bit on my index finger. I claim to be free of superstitions but some things are simply stuck with me from years of living in Azerbaijan. I see a black cat cross the road in front of me and I pretend to spit over my left shoulder before I go over that invisible line of bad luck. I see a nasty accident and I pull on my ear and suck on my teeth. To be completely honest, if nobody can hear me, I also add a little k-shh!-k-shhh! noise.
In the UK, the only gesture I ever need is a wave to the magpie bird. While adding ‘Good morning Mr. Magpie, how is your wife?’ But only if you see one! If you see two it brings good luck. If you see three it is for a girl, and four-for a boy. Don't ask.
Lastly, for today’s lesson, Azeris believe in evil eye. I told you this before, but it is worth mentioning again. When we believe someone is envious of something nice we own, like a new car or an engagement ring, we may whisper under our breath: 'Senin gozun menim gotume!' Which translates as may your evil eye go up my arse. Presumably, arse is a pretty safe place to store any evil eye that might be fired at us. Fortunately, there is no gesture that goes with it.