Thursday, May 15, 2014

I don't know why...

Re-post from private blog on Feb 7, 2011. Great memory:

The office today is surreal. It is full of people. That’s normal. People talking animatedly to each other about whatever lights their fire at the moment. People talking to children in soft, high, feminine voices until they misbehave, and then in loud and stern bass tones. There are people chatting louding on cell phones, having exited the offices next door, so as not to disturb anyone. (They don’t realize they are standing in MY doorway). There are people in and out of the front door, shuffling papers, texting and picking up or dropping off checks (depending on whether they are stopping at the tax office or the insurance office). Also normal.

The every day communications of humanity with humanity? That, I get. What is surreal is that none of it is happening in a language I understand. Not a single word. (Unless you count my own very feeble attempts at telling them I do not speak their language.)

I am not sure why it is a family event to have one’s taxes done, or why, since it seems to be a family event, nothing has been planned for the children’s entertainment. I am not sure why some businesses, touting they are child-friendly to employees, bring their children to work, and then send their children to tend themselves in the communal waiting area outside my door, but they do. Nor do I know why a language I do not understand feels louder and more like mental clutter than one I speak. But it’s a fact, Jack, and I can feel my blood pressure rising with every unfamiliar syllable.

And just when I am about to be unhinged, and to begin speaking yet another language (if you get my drift), a moment of grace. A smiling woman, points to me, and then nods to her tiny granddaughter. "Beautiful, eh?"

That word—I understand.

And it is.

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