My Struggles with Language

Friend: So…how was your weekend?
Me: Hmm.
(I think about all the insignificant details that construct a whole weekend. Which one of them is important enough to define the overall quality? Is it a combination of all the events? An absolution stating if the sum parts were a majority of overall enjoyment or down right negativity?)
Me: It was…good.
Friend: That’s nice.
Me: But that’s not really what I mean.
(I remember the pasta I ate on Saturday night. The pasta, rigatoni style, was not too hot, but the marinara sauce must have been served at a boiling temperature. I couldn’t wait for the delicious plate of food in front of me to cool down, so I stuck my fork in and proceeded to take a massive bite. Here I am, sitting in my last Monday class, and the roof of my mouth still feels tender from the burn. Although, I can’t forget or deny how good that crispy piece of garlic bread tasted once everything cooled down…)
Friend: So it was bad?
Me: No…it’s just kind of an intricate question when you really stop and think about it.
Friend: What? I asked you that forty-five minutes ago. Stop talking to me.

And here is my essential problem with spoken language. Typical speaking situations inherently possess time frames. There are definite time limitations that a person must meet in order to maintain a non-awkward, two-sided and healthy conversation. Unless the conversation is trivial, like when you can just fall back on repetitive formal responses—as I couldn’t even do in the example given above—a person must make quick decisions with flowing ease while choosing from a slew of possible words in order to convey the clearest meaning possible. Although thrilling at times, the high-risk life of a conversationalist usually proves to be difficult and stressful. Too often have I snatched at a word in the heat of a good talk, only to look back with regret and think about how I could have made myself clearer if I had more time to think about what I really wanted to say. Thesauruses and dictionaries are to spoken words what S.T.D. ‘s are to a first date: you just don’t bring them up. If you were to stop a political discussion and pull out a thesaurus to look up another word for “jerk”, “communist”, or “Gerald Ford” your conversation would not be recovered when you found the perfect word for your specific argument or point.
And that is why I sternly believe that sitting down, taking your time and clarifying yourself through the ancient craft of writing is…really, really…good.


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