Instead here we are in a a silence more eloquent than any words could ever be… (Suzanne Vega)
So, I’m in a country where I just don’t speak the language, I know so few words of Spanish, it makes my French look good.
But that’s okay… really it is. I can say the pleasantries, I can ask nicely if someone speaks English, I can point to something if I can’t pronounce it, and if that makes me ‘An Ugly American’ so be it, because I had a huge realization yesterday….
I like being in places where I can’t understand a damn thing that anyone is saying. I think this started about 10 years ago as cell phones started to become more and more prevalent… The discourse, the dialogue, the conversation between grown people has devolved from conversation (polite or familiar) into the most base use of language, and mostly as a hammer to make a point, but is that point being made to the person you’re talking to or the people around you? The ones hearing only your side of the conversation. The most prominent one in my mind happened over a year ago, yet I still remember it like it was an hour ago… I was walking down 40th St in Manhattan heading for the F train at 6th ave, when I walked by a tall black woman with a paisley scarf on her head and she was screaming into her cell phone “YOU FUCKED MY SON, YOU CAN DIE!!”
What the hell is wrong with people that they think that something like that is ever acceptable in public? But it goes beyond that, I’m sure if anyone had said anything to this woman who screamed that at the top of her lungs, she would have told them to mind their own business in an even louder voice. How is this acceptable?
Where did we lose the ability to have a polite, quiet conversation, even in publc?
I know I’m going on a socio-political rant here, but I’m surrounded by many people having conversations in a language I don’t understand, and I’m enjoying it, because their conversations are between them and I don’t have to know the details and disgusting facts (if any) of any of their lives.
Some days it’s good to be ignorant, this is one of them.