B. brings a list of Russian word he’s studying to the shower. Or rather, he puts his tablet with the list next to the shower in hopes of encouraging us to practice during the washing of hair and other body parts. Learning a language is much easier naked.
This week’s list is all about hardware, with words like “screwdriver,” “nuts” and “bolts” at the top of the list.
“What’s the difference between a vint and a bolt?” he asks.
“A vint is a screw and a bolt is a bolt,” I say. Then I go to google the difference in their function and discover that there’s a also a “stud” in this triptych.
In case you’re a girl with zero home skills like me, a screw is an “externally threaded, headed fastener, which is tightened by applying torque to the head.” Here’s more, with pictures.
That was also where I learned that a bolt is only used in conjunction with a nut… So basically, it’s not the hardware itself that matters. It’s what you do with it…
“OK. Then we also got ploskogubzi,” B. says.
How do you explain that a pair of pliers is called “flat-lips” in Russian? I decided not to google it just in case.
After getting a firm grip on what can be done with a screwdriver and a little imagination, we are ready to head to work, driving two cars. B. pulls out of the garage and speeds away into the sunny morning while I discover that the truck refuses to drive. I get out to see that it has a flat tire, my first one.
The next two hours are spent pumping air in it, taking to the Big O, getting a replacement and feeling grateful that all this didn’t happen in the middle of the desert.
“What was it?” I ask the mechanic.
“Oh, just a screw.”
Moral: Next time, we’re studying diamonds and airplanes and Christmas bonuses.