Polish gold medal hopes

Over on the other place I explained how poor is Poland’s performance at the Olympics and started a list of events that might guarantee a higher medal tally for Polska. So far I’ve covered Surprise and Bystanding.

I’ve now collected a few more events and as this may become something of a recurring theme I thought it best to move here:

Suspicion

Everyone is a little wary of strangers but not quite in the same way that Poles are. By way of an example. It’s Christmas now, officially, and so all the nasty tourists are in town doing their Christmas shopping in Zlote Tarasy. ZT is laid out in such a way that it is not immediately obvious where the entrances are unless you’re coming from the station and this means there’s a lot of tourists & students wandering around pointing at doorways and saying “Let’s try that one!”, “That must be an entrance!” and “Surely we can get in there?”. I’m a helpful guy and I know my way around ZT so when I see people in trouble I can’t resist trying to help them. I did exactly that yesterday for a group comprising of two turnip men and one turnip woman all aged about 50. “The nearest entrance is just over there on the corner or the main entrance is around this corner.”, I said, all helpful like. They just stared at me like they would at the bottom of their shoe after treading in doggy-dump.

tourists

Completely ignored me, behaved like I was suggesting we all go down a dark alley and compare wallets. Went back to talking amongst themselves, walked off in a different direction. This happens to me all the time here. If these had been Americans or Brits or Irish or just about anything other than Poles there would have been smiling, thanks, conversation, jokes, we might even have become lifelong friends. But Poles, no way. Suspicious people, the Poles. They are suspicious of all people they don’t know and at least half the people they do know. Perfect training for this event and guaranteed medals, in my opinion.

Silent stirring

Stirring is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as – “The act of wiggling a spoon around inside a cup or other vessel in the hope of mixing together two or more things, i.e. sugar, milk and tea.”. There is no mention of the word “silently”. It is difficult to stir in silence given that the cup is usually china and the spoon, metal. To stir silently requires the spoon to not touch the cup at any point, the act of mixing the liquids therefore relying entirely on the creation of a sort of vortex, whirlpool action by whirring the spoon around suspended in the liquid and letting the laws of fluid dynamics take over. This being a somewhat ham-fisted way of doing it, it has not caught on outside of Poland giving Poles a real edge in this competition. You may find it surprising but in Poland the act of “noisy stirring” is still a criminal offence punishable by up to 20 years in prison!

Such is the fear of noisy stirring that one Polish inventor came up with the self stirring cup.

self stir

This brilliant invention relies on the movement of a ceramic ball to mix the liquids and was a massive hit worldwide (perhaps) but has never been seen in Poland. Despite removing the spoon from the equation (which as we all know is the spawn of copulative efforts between the devil and a lump of shiny metal), it was found that the movement of the ceramic ball did make some sound while rolling against the glass. The invention was therefore declared to be against the interests of the Polish State and was outlawed by the President. The inventor was guillotined and his head put on display in a glass box on Krakowskie Przedmieście.

Brim Filling

The way I see it, Brim Filling will be an individual discipline as well as combining with Silent Stirring and Bag Dunking to form the New Triathlon. The Poles don’t look like world class Bag Dunkers but two out of three aint bad!

cup-of-tea

An unacceptably poor attempt to fill a cup

The cup above is what I would expect to be given and slightly more full than I would make myself. I work on a simple theory that a cup of drink is not a static thing, not a work of modern art to be admired but not touched. It is something that needs to be moved, either to pass to another person or to drink. It might also need to be dunked and stirred, perhaps lemoned as well all of which requires a certain tolerance or an inhumanly steady and delicate touch. Not so in Poland. Here, if you were to give someone a cup such as the one above the assumption would be that you’re being cheap, cheating the recipient out of their full due, perhaps trying to say something like “I don’t like you very much so here’s half a cup of tea!”. This trait becomes even more exaggerated in public places, for example in a self serve restaurant or the canteen at work. In these situations the brim filling process assumes microscopic accuracy. The hot water or Cola stops being poured at the point when the only thing stopping it from spilling out is the surface tension of the molecules in the top layer of liquid, holding onto the edge of the brim for dear life!

It is fun to watch the morning coffee routine in my office. Our machines will give you a dose of coffee and then another widget will sploosh hot milk into the cup for you. I generally fill mine about half way, roughly the size of the crappachino you might find in a coffee bar. Now watch the Poles spending 30 minutes to fill theirs all the way to the very top of the mug! Must be half a litre of milk in these things and now so full that it’s impossible to extract the mug from under the milk-widget without spilling some. What’s the point?! Anyway, no matter, I will now look upon this as nothing more than training for yet another Polish medal.

Advertisements

6 thoughts on “Polish gold medal hopes

  1. Suspicion – absolutely. Try giving a pole some information about what they are doing and you will be immediately judged as critising. Drives me round the bend.

    Tea stirring – Holy crap!! This is either some analy retentive hangover from the Napoleonic age or something from PRL times to do with not letting anyone else in the block hear that you’ve managed to buy some tea and are about to consume it.
    Building law over the whole world requires any heated and subsequently sweetened or milked beverage to be stirred like you were ringing the bells on Sunday and spilling only gets you extra points. Poland is the only country where this law doea not apply as non alcoholic beverages are not permitted on building sites.

    I know – I’ve been there.

  2. Does Poland really perform that bad in Olympics ? In the last Beijing Olympics, the Malaysian contingent was comprised of only 33 athletes, of which we only managed to obtain 1 silver medal (only the 2nd silver for Malaysia since our nation was formed)

    But I have high hopes as soon as they admit squash into Olympics, we will be able to achieve our first gold from Nicol David:)

  3. Indeed, I enjoy that advert too, although my wife tells me that half of the enjoyment of the ad is that he is normally a very talkative and loud guy, who is extremely quiet in the advert, in order to be focussed on maintaining the brim-level of the tea.

    He would be in with a chance of a gold medal for sure. In fact, that would be an epic Olympic competition – obstacle course while maintaining a teacup full to the brim.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s