Betty, Dan and Erma were waiting together on the sidewalk outside the bar as I drove up. I knew they were my passengers because Betty had the look–she held her phone up to her face and her eyes kept moving from the screen to to my car as I approached. I rolled down the window.


“Yeah!” She smiled. Erma waved.

Betty looked to be in her low to mid-twenties. Dan and Erma were older. Dan was balding with a well-developed beer gut. He sat up front, ladies in the back.

“How’s your evening been?” I asked.

“Great!” said Betty, the spokesperson of the group. “These are my parents. They are in town for the weekend and I took them out to my favorite bar.”

“Wow, that’s great,” I said. “You guys must be pretty cool parents.  A lot of kids wouldn’t want to hang with Mom and Dad at the bar.”

Dan and Erma smiled and nodded.

“Yeah, they’re pretty cool,” Betty said, giggling. “I think we probably all had a little too much to drink though, so I thought we should take an Uber home.”

“Always a good idea,” I said. “Where you guys from?”

“North Carolina,” said Erma, piping up finally.

“Oh, hey,” Betty interjected, “Don’t follow the GPS. Go right here. It’s shorter.”

This kind of thing happens a lot. People don’t trust the GPS and prefer their favorite routes. I always take the passenger’s advice. It was Betty’s buck.

At this point, Dan, who was clearly the most inebriated of the three, directed me to the right with an extended finger. “Gaga bobo.”

Well, it was something like gaga bobo. It was gibberish, spoken in a deep voice, like an Indian chief in a 1950s Western.

“Dad–” said Betty.

“Aga baga goo loo!” said Dan.

“Your father doesn’t speak English?” I said, playing along.

“No, he just–”

“Mala baga doo do!” said Dan, shaking his head.

“Dad!” said Betty.

“Honey–” said Erma.

“I’m not familiar with that particular language. Is it Swedish?”

He shook his head again, “Be bop boop me mulu.”

“I see. That makes sense,” I said.

“Dad, please cut it out,” said the mortified Betty.

“Itchy booloo. Mulu bobo!”

It wasn’t a long ride, but Dan kept up his “foreign language” the whole time as he directed me to Betty’s apartment complex. With a straight face. Before exiting the vehicle, he shook my hand, “Aga baga dodo.”

“You’re welcome,” I said, “And aga baga dodo to you and your family also.”

“I’m so sorry,” said Betty as she left the car. “He gets like this sometimes.”

“No problem, ” I said, grinning. “I just wish I spoke better Boogalulu. I should have paid more attention in high school.”


2 thoughts on “Drunkenese

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