Saturday, October 26, 2013

Reaching Out and Conversating

And spring became a summer
Who'd believe you'd come along
Touching hands
Reaching out
Touching me
Touching you - from "Sweet Caroline" Neil Diamond, 1969

Glasses Through Glass - Moscot on West 14th
When did I first hear someone say, "That's a first world problem"?

If I could place it in relative time, it'd be before I had seen "Inbox me!" and definitely after I had heard "conversating" an action word - or verb as we used to say - from the noun "conversation".

Conversating is all about flexibility, and barely a week goes by without a new word or phrase being adopted into American English.

Lately it is all about "reaching out", which I believe is an East Coast sort of thing. Just as West Coast people started the "sharing" thing - "Thank you for sharing", East Coast people now talk of "reaching out".

You "reach out" to someone who isn't there, but who you want to talk, inbox or conversate with, some time in the near future. You could also use "reach out" if you wanted someone else to inbox a third party.

Although you might think could just as easily use the verb "contact", as in "Please contact Emma tomorrow" - that'd sound a bit too in your face. "Reaching out" is softer, more caring. Just as "sharing" is softer than "telling".

These "reaching out" and "sharing" things are all very First World.

Third World people in America say quaint things like "tooken". As in "I had tooken my car to the gas station when you called me." I kinda like it. For some reason it conjures up hobbits and New Zealand airline safety announcements. Tooken, Tolkien, all very hobbitish.

I love the way Americans dream up new words, make verbs of nouns, and nouns from verbs.

Mosgot on 14th
It is very freedom of speech. I used to think "freedom of speech" had something to do with democracy - I didn't know it was about grammar and lexicons.

Freedom of speech is taken very seriously in New York.

I was having my hair washed at on 14th today when I heard the unseen hair-washer-person behind me talking. Not being able to see her or to work out what she was saying - I was lying back with my hair dangled in the basin - I asked her what she had said. "I am talking to myself!" the disembodied voice came back.

And then more disembodied animated talk. "What was this?" I thought to myself. I am used to such people saying things like, "How was your day?" or "Are you going out tonight?" So I asked again if she was talking to me. It was awkward. She literally had my head in her hands and I was becoming anxious. I couldn't see her. The situation was becoming very Polanski à la 1968.

I was feeling edgy, uncomfortable, when the invisible person answered me, "Listen this is America and it is a free country and I can talk to myself if I want to!"

"I think I will leave NOW!" I said with pretend bravery; after all I had a hair full of foaming shampoo. ASIF I could walk down 14th Street looking like a mad woman.

And then, so New York - the customer at the basin next to me conversated. New Yorkers just cant let anything go without putting in their two cents. "Can you two stop arguing; let there be peace in this world!" Fair enough, OMG - all I had done was drop in for a cut and blow-wave! Excuse me for existing!

There might be freedom of speech, but there are limits. It is as if there is only a limited universe of words, so that if new words come in taking up space, old ones are assigned to the past. Like "gone" which has literally gone.

So it isn't "I had gone to school", but "I had went to school". I wonder if auctioneers are up to date with the current lingo. Do they end the bidding with "Going, going, went"?

And "dived". That has been replaced by the universal peace symbol. "She dove into the pool after Ethan had went." Which brings me back to the hair salon. There's an association I cant quite put my lips on. Aha - it is Bob Dylan and his "Motorpsycho Nightmare". How does it went?

Well, I don’t figure I’ll be back
There for a spell
Even though Rita moved away
And got a job in a motel
He still waits for me
Constant, on the sly
He wants to turn me in To the F.B.I.
Me, I romp and stomp
Thankful as I romp
Without freedom of speech I might be in the swamp

Which reminds me, it's late so I had better get wenting.

Stay tuned.

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