Language Pontifications

by Michelle Lasley

Michelle Lasley is a mother, wife in Pacific Northwest learning to balance green dreams with budget realities.

October 10, 2008


Categories: The Balancing Act

I got my Swatch fixed today. The battery died. It lasted two years; I would say, “Not bad.” This made me remember when I bought my lovely watch. The first day I wore it, a pin fell out, so I could not wear my lovely time-keeper. We were staying in Siena, where I purchased the watch, and the next day (Sunday) we had some free-time so we wandered back to the Swatch store to get the watch fixed. I had just purchased it the day before. But, we could not decipher the lovely Italian describing the store hours. It took us several trips back around to finally figure out, after consulting the dictionary too, that the words meant “Closed Sunday” not “Open partly on Sunday”.

So, I had to go back. The following week, Saturday, we had another opportunity to go back to Siena. I jumped at the chance, and Gretchen and I spent the day wandering around the narrow streets. When we got into the Swatch store, the exchange went something like this:

“Ciao,” me.
“Ciao,” lady behind the counter.
I hand my watch and point at the broken piece and missing pin.
She nods and retrieves her tools from the drawer under the counter. Within minutes my watch is fixed, she fastens it to my wrist.
“Preggo!” me.
“Ciao!” lady behind the counter.
And, we leave.

It was a quick exchange where hardly any words were used to communicate that my watch needed fixing. I knew (know) basically those two Italian words (and dové, which means “where”), so a conversation was not something in which I could partake. The interaction was friendly, but to the point. Words were not wasted, there couldn’t be, we didn’t know enough or didn’t share enough.

So, that made me think about all the talking we do every day. I am a talker, a prolific talker. I love to talk. I love to talk out loud, I love to think about things. I love to share my ideas, and I love to hear other people share their ideas and stories. I love asking questions about those shared ideas and stories. But, in all that talking, sometimes that’s all it is, just talk. No really meaning is exchanged, no jewels discovered in the midst of these pontifications and rantings. So, my question today is: what would happen if we all just shut up for a little bit, and communicated by pointing? What if we rubbed our tummies when we were hungry? What if we skipped intricate cravings and focused on essential needs? What if we embraced ourselves to indicate we needed a hug from someone else? What if…

To whomever stumbles upon this blog, please do share your thoughts regarding talking.


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