Longing for Weekend Visits

Last weekend my roommate went to Oakville to stay with her parents. She visits them every almost every weekend, and I admit I am wee bit jealous, because I wish I had the opportunity to see my family as frequently. Of course, if we all lived in the same city, I probably wouldn’t be able to see them absolutely every weekend. But I would appreciate the opportunity itself.

I imagine heading their way straight from work, and making it in time for dinner. Upon seeing me, the ever excited Bugs Tomato would leap to me, and then actively jump trying to lick my face once I kneel down. Seconds later, this affectionate little animal would experience problems breathing – chihuahuas are known to have respiratory problemsб – because he gets so excited. After I massage his throat for a bit and wonder how he can be so ecstatically excited to see me, he’s back to normal. I wish I could tell him to take it easy at times.

I would go on dropping my bags and situating myself in the kitchen, either helping mom to prepare dinner (something Russian that I asked for), or more likely, making the whole dinner myself. I love cooking for the family.

In the sunlit dining room (or the balcony, rain permitting) we’d share the food, laughter and recent news. Later we would most likely watch old Soviet movies, or 90’s Russian films. Sometimes mom and I itch for animated shorts of the olden days. Whatever we watch, we enjoy the time spent together.

For the rest of the weekend I would most likely preoccupy myself with either making food for the family, walking on the Promenade along the shore, or gearing up to take my mountain bike for a ride. Last time, instead of biking, I opted out for a hike in the neighboring forest. I definitely appreciate the West coast flora, especially the trees.

Really, I wouldn’t do much while visiting the parents. I always try to be in the present moment, to be calm (doesn’t work, I’m too excitable!), and patient. After the first few days I start to experience a sharp sense of melancholy, because these beautiful days will have to come to an end. I play with Bugs Tomato – he’s oblivious to my upcoming expiry – and I randomly hug either mom or dad. I desperately want the clock to slow down, but it is ruthless.

On the day of my scheduled flight to my other home, I mean it when I say “I don’t want to go”, and already foresee the blue week ahead. Upon the arrival, en route to my bed, I already long for my warm family home, laughing together and the ever ebullient Bugs Tomato.

On Spontaneous Eloquence

“My vocabulary dwells deep in my mind and needs paper to wriggle out into the physical zone. Spontaneous eloquence seems to me a miracle.” – Vladimir Nabokov, Strong Opinions

In May I spent more (than usual) time worried about the words I choose in everyday language. I became acutely aware of the differences in my written speech and my spoken one. I noticed that I had opted out for simple, quick words that popped into my mind like fireworks, instead of selecting the vivid and precise boulders of usually longer and mostly unpopular words. Words that communicated the meaning exceptionally, but words that also don’t spring into action at the slighted fancy of the brain. The words need mining. While I wanted to give them some spotlight, I ended up using the simplest normal words.

The more chipper, satisfied and energetic I was, the more my speech resembled a basic soap opera set. Exaggerating, I’ll even say, my speech was caveman-like! Sentence structure, all sorts of exclamations and exclamation marks. Well, the usual me, I guess, hehe.

Having learned English as a second language, I’ve always paid attention to my vocabulary, words I use, metaphors I create and more. Knowing more than one language makes you appreciate the variety of expressions that already exist and that could be created. Writing was not a problem. Writing allows for apt word selections and swollen metaphors because of the comforts of time and editing options, while speaking in person demands mental dexterity and immediate responses. I also couldn’t understand the incongruence between my written language and my spoken one. What the …!

So I entertained this worry until I ran across the aforementioned quote by Nabokov in Strong Opinions. That definitely relaxed me. Consulting with a couple of fellow lovers of words and letters, I found out it’s not an usual concern. Moreover, it made me consciously make an effort to give some air time to words we sometimes only see in print.

Progress! Yesterday for the first time I noticed that, while telling Meghann a story, I deliberately thought about colorful metaphors to employ. I took the time to summon a lengthier and sometimes even more pompous word where a simple one could suffice. I realized that ever since I consciously made an effort to decorate in-person parlance with more book-like words, I’ve been making some success. Now the only task is to continue to collect and use more of these epic words 😉

Fun Update: randomly searching the web, of course, yielded this paper: “Consequences of Erudite Vernacular Utilized Irrespective of Necessity: Problems with Using Long Words Needlessly” . I smirked. Tell that to the author himself!

I’d like to say that I believe there is a difference between literary, fiction-oriented writing and to-the-point writing style of the everyday (journalistic, business, too). I just like my goddamn language, so I will savor every word I can.

On the other hand, I, too, was annoyed when students mindlessly employed long words to add potential zest to papers. But never in my life have I discounted someone’s intelligence just because they used complex words. And knew when to use them. More often than not, their speech was also more entertaining, with puns and humor, jokes and various references.