So I got home last night after a long day at work, said my hellos to the family, reminded them there was nuke-able homemade chicken soup in the fridge should they get to feeling peckish, poured myself a lovely cup of coffee prepared by the now-retired and rather bored Mr. Wren, toddled off to my little pack-rat’s nest of a den and powered up the ol’ laptop.
(An aside: During a lively conversation between editor and writer types at work yesterday regarding run-on sentences, it came up that Sir Winston Churchill’s written sentences averaged 35 words. As I expressed the proper dismay, I was really thinking, “Only 35?” Evidence of my personal long sentence habit may be seen above, coming in at a boggling 67 words. In my book, hyphenated words count as one, or it would be 69. Neener-neener-neener, Winnie.)
Back to the story. I must admit to a certain obsession with Stat Counter, an addiction that the wise, wonderfully wacky Neddie Jingo, a fine writer and far more experienced blogwart than I, warned me against way back in April of this year. Ned, I tried to ignore those stats, I swear. But I’m hooked.
I love finding out how many people have visited Blue Wren each day. I gotta know. When the number exceeds, oh, 10, I’m ecstatic. Even knowing that most of them have stumbled on this blog by mistake, it gives me a warm glow. The rest are looking for the “Last Great Act of Defiance” mouse and eagle poster, which I referred to in a post way back when. It continues to bring ‘em in. Humans are a defiant bunch, it seems, and we all root for the underdog.
But as much as the numbers, I love finding out where my readers live. Most are from the U.S., which is gratifying but no real surprise. But many are from other countries. Knowing that some anonymous someone in Japan, Australia, Portugal, Italy, England or Ireland, Thailand or Germany has stopped by to read something I wrote makes me do a happy dance. The Internet is wonderful for reducing the world to virtual village-size — and who wouldn’t be delighted to have an international audience? It’s almost like traveling, sans security gate lines and luggage carousels.
Well, OK, it’s not. Real travel is more fun, at least once you clear the airports.
Anyway, try to imagine my delight when, as I perused Stat Counter’s list of visitors yesterday, I discovered one from France. Now, I’ve had readers from France stop by before, which is always tres bien. But Stat Counter’s info on this French reader showed that he or she had visited “Puanteur.”
My grasp of the French language is limited to a single high school class, taken in my sophomore year. This means I’m a troglodyte when it comes to speaking that lovely language. I couldn’t recall having written anything called “Puantuer,” though, unless I’d somehow done it in my sleep after watching the delightfully whimsical “Amélie” on DVD.
It turned out that “Puanteur” is French for “Stench,” which is the title one of my better posts (or so I’m told by people who should know).
But the reader had read it in French? Intrigued, I clicked on it.
The whole page had been translated into French! For this reader, my blog was not “Blue Wren,” it was “Roitelet bleu.”
The first graf reads, “Quand j’ai habité en Allemagne nordique vers la fin des années 80, j’ai visité le prisonnier de guerre de Bergen-Belsen et le camp de concentration.”
Isn’t that cool?
Yeah, I know it’s silly to get so excited about such a little thing, but I’m just beside myself. Someone out there wanted to understand what I’d written. Or maybe they were just translating everything they read from English-language websites into French.
Either way, I’m just pleased as punch. Whoever you are, mon cher or cheri, merci beaucoup. I’m still smiling.