Through a thicket of parentheses

In Break - coffee, Food, Hautvoir, Local projects, proto drafts, Sanford Meisner on June 14, 2016 at 8:01 am

Too many highlights in one day. For now, I’ll settle on the moment when the freak storm hit town. I was reviewing English pronunciation with an eleven year-old whose contributions to the school play consist of four lines. First line: I’m a zebra. Second line: I like oranges. Third line: Hello Handa, I’m fine thanks. Fourth and final line: A surprise! I like surprises. Tangerine! My favorite fruits!

(Note: even in their English lessons, the French use a lot of exclamation points.)

The session was at the Social Center. All activities there scheduled for a move (when? soon. When is soon? Please. Soon gets moved down the line on a regular basis). Ergo, maintenance on the building: down to zilch (I avoid the elevator). Freak storm hits town and the waterfall begins (somewhere around Hello Handa, I’m fine thanks). Instead of Hello Handa etc, the girl says My feet are wet in French (mes pieds sont mouillés). And so they were. My feet were next. Stanching the flow: impossible, the water fell from under the window. So we set aside tangerines as the zebra’s favorite fruit, pulled out the mop, spread towels on the floor, and moved the lesson to the other side of the room.

What makes this highlight worthy of note over the others? The others are too complicated. Way too complicated. They involve transferring information from one language to another (French to Albanian or French to Soninke, two languages I don’t speak nor understand). The Albanian and Soninke speakers then attempt to tell me what they’ve understood of what I said in French. Sometimes, confusion grows at exponential rates. Other times ultra-basic information clicks into place. “Ah, that’s what you meant. – Yes, this is what I meant. Now, what do we do about it.” And so on.

I pause for a break of mindlessness and my second bowl of coffee.


At this point in the writing, even the word proto-draft sounds too elaborate. At this point in the writing, I jot down whatever carries an emotional charge sufficient to lift the words out of my head (my head’s a crowded space these days, in terms of things that must get done, must, must, or else…)

I pause to savor the coffee. Plus toasted walnut bread with a slather of Italian ultra-bitter lemon marmalade. Whatever pops up next as the most pressing of the pressing things to do? May (or may not) get my full attention


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