TWO QUOTES.

Some amusement for your Wednesday.
1) From Anthony Lane’s “High and Low: Flying on the Really Cheap” in last week’s New Yorker:

At a recent lunch, I ment somebody who swore to the truth of a story from the nineteen-eighties. He was sitting in an Aeroflot plane at an Italian airport. In fact, he had been sitting there for four hours, on a warm day, with nothing to eat or drink. The plane, like many of its brothers and sisters in the Aeroflot fleet, was not in good shape, and any prospect of an imminent takeoff had long since receded. Finally, the man lost patience. He attracted the attention of the cabin staff and asked for a drink of water. Their reaction could not have been swifter. A sturdy Russian female flight attendant strode down the aisle and slapped him in the face.

I’ve flown Aeroflot, and I can tell you that if that isn’t true, it’s certainly plausible.
2) From molcha:
Если бы Пьера Менара не существовало, его надо было бы выдумать.
[If Pierre Menard didn't exist, he would have had to be invented.]
(Via Avva.)

Comments

  1. Like you, I’ve flown Aeroflot–in the mid-80s.
    Liek you, I find this to be wholly believable.
    Thanks for the chuckle.

  2. er…
    “Liek” = “Like” I used to be able to t-y-p-e.

  3. In my experience, the staff of aeroflot were a lot of fun. I flew Aeroflot from Cotonou, Benin to Moscow in 1993. I had stayed up all night drinking heavily at a local buvette/disco with the alternate flight crew. They (the aeroflot stewards) had only one person among their group who could speak French well, so they started asking us (myself and a few other peace corps volunteers who happened to be in the bar) to order drinks for them after their French speaker left. They were generous with their vodka, and eventually we finished the evening with borscht, black bread, and beer at 3:00 in the morning at their compound.
    I had such a good impression of them, that I extended my layover in Moscow as long as I could so that I could see more of Russia.
    On the other hand, I can’t remember the actual in flight service. Perhaps they were in a bad mood and hungover.

  4. Ah, but when you were hanging out with them they weren’t on duty. A Russian on duty, with official powers, is a very different Russian from a Russian hanging out in a bar. But I envy you your experience — sounds great!

  5. Flying from Tashkent to London in 1988 on a sparsely filled Aeroflot 747, I was happily amazed that noone objected when I walked from side to side looking out of the window during the takeoff. {I was young and foolish, yes}
    I have a soft spot for Aeroflot incompetence.

  6. Love the Menard quote. Of course, I had already read it well before Borges was born…..

  7. ThePedanticPrick says:

    A Mexican girl once told me “Si no hubieras existido, Walt Disney te hubiera dibujado” (If you hadn’t existed, Walt Disney would have drawn you)

  8. Forgive my ignorance, but can you tell me why it should be “would have had to be invented” and not “would have had to have been invented”? I’m certain you’re correct, but I’d like to hear an explanation, if you have a minute.
    Thanks

  9. I’m not certain I’m right (in traditional grammatical terms, which is what I assume you’re talking about); all I can tell you is that my version sounds natural to me, whereas yours sounds wordy and awkward. If yours sounds right to you, then it is right in your idiolect. This is the kind of thing where native speakers often differ.

  10. Yeah, mine is definitely wordy. Still curious to know which is considered grammatically “correct”, even if, as you say, that isn’t the final word.

  11. John Emerson says:

    I like Derek’s version, but this kind of construction often gives me trouble.

  12. Anyone got Fowler to hand?

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