10 July 2009

The Complexities of Living

Temperature at noon:  34c/93f

I am so tired que ne veas, as S.A. taught me one can say. Except I can, um, veo (I don't know what the correct form is), because I'm writing this.

I was thinking as I walked home today that these days I really do live in two places.  When I moved to England the first time I hoped to stay there forever, but I had no one waiting there for me, I had no home, and I wasn't going toward anything (except the hope of love, which isn't really anything - it's a reason, but not a thing).  But now, even as I live here, I do have all those things there:  I have a home (okay, it's a college, but it's home), and people whose narratives I will have to catch up with (some of whom are looking forward to my return!); I have a job to come back to; I have an SBF (situational BF); most of my money is over there; my main hobby is there.  But here in WhereIlive I have a home (and quite a nice one, too); I have a job; I have narratives to catch up on and that I fell back into; I have an SBF; I even would have a main hobby, if the ballet teacher weren't on holiday.  Now, I did experience this situation after I'd been in England for the first six months, and it was strange.  But then one life was slipping away (the one in the US), and the other was predominating.  This time the two lives are, of necessity, equal, though not identical (so, for example, I have a present here but only a quasi-future, and I have a future there but only a quasi-present).  Which is much, much stranger.  So I try not to think about it, because it makes my perception hurt.

All of which leads me, in a roundabout way, to language.  There are very few ways in which America is superior to other countries, in my opinion.  One of these is the presence of the delicious-smelling Scotch tape.  Another is that it is the home of Reese's-based products.  And yet another is that its denizens use the expression "That sucks," alternative versions, "It sucks" and "It sucked."  This expression is a masterpiece of definition by inflection and nuance, and no other language seems to have an equivalent.  In German, you say, "That's shit," but although "sucks" has precisely the connotation you think it does, it does not really mean the same as "that's shit."  It doesn't exactly mean, "That's the worst."  If a movie was horrible, you would indeed say, "It sucked," so suckitude (yes, it's a legitimate word.  So is suckiness, which means the same) does mean the depths of badness.  But the expression also has, I think (and I've been thinking about this a good deal, because I've been trying to parse this expression for foreign speakers), an undertone of personal offence.  That is, when you say a film sucked, you are saying that it was so bad that you can't believe you wasted your time on it (thus, it offended you).  "He sucks," means not just, "He's horrible," but also "He's worthless" (that is, his very existence is an offence).  But it also contains an undertone of mystery:  the most common repeated use of the phrase is, "Life sucks," and there it means, "Life is awful for inexplicable reasons."  I would say, though, that this is a second meaning. That is, something - as far as I know - can't suck both because it's wounded your amour propre and because it's unfathomably bad: it can only suck for one reason or the other (I'm willing to be corrected on this).  And then sometimes it's employed as a deliberately inadequate phrase, ironically, to express sympathy that realises there is no comfort to be had in a given situation:  "Aw, sweetie, I'm sorry she dumped you.  What can I say?  She sucks."  Then both people will laugh, recognising the simultaneous inadequacy and necessity (because any expression is inadequate) of this statement.

I feel like Johnny Depp in Donnie Brasco, when he tries to explain to the non-undercover cops what "fuggedaboutit" means.

And here is today's photo.  It's the creek (although, in fact, it is a "crick," a pronunciation used specifically when the creek is very small) I walk over every day on my way to and from school. I walked over it today, in fact, thinking about how to explain "That sucks."

Isn't the light beautiful?  That's one of the best things about WhereIlive:  the way everything turns crystalline in the early morning and late afternoon light.

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