Drabble 86 – Minauderie

Minauderie

I never learned how to flirt. Or at least, I don’t think I’ve ever actively tried flirting–it seems difficult. I don’t recognize when I’m being flirted with, either, unless it’s so blatant that it crosses the line from flirtatious to harassment, which drives me far past interested and deep into angry.

It’s a quirk I have to accept about myself. When I think back to all the weird things people have said to me over the years, I now realize that many of them were (bad) attempts at flirting. That guy who practically sat in my lap at a concert and told me we should sleep together? He probably didn’t mean it literally. The girl who winked and gave me her number in case I needed homework help? Probably flirting. That guy who named off bean flavors at the bubble tea place in a silly voice and kept smiling at me? I’m still not convinced on that one, but a friend told me it was flirting and I trust her expertise.

Even though I can’t flirt, or maybe because I can’t flirt, I find it fascinating how changing your tone, the way you move, the words you say, sends an entirely different message, like a language I just can’t speak.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

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Drabble 85 – Iktsuarpok

A good indication that a word might not be real is that, when you google it, all you can find is websites gathering words that can’t be translated into English. That’s definitely the case with today’s word, but it also raises an interesting question–is there such thing as an untranslatable word?

Certainly, we can’t translate iktsuarpok in a single word. We don’t have an equivalent in English. But we certainly have words for the experience; they’re what I use to define it below. The trouble with translation, of course, is that you can never be quite certain that you’ve accurately captured whatever it is. Language is more than just a concrete representation of a thing or abstract idea; there’s connotation and context and tone and all these other things that contribute to our understanding of a word.

To be honest, I know very little about translation other than that I’m forever interested in the way words do and don’t fit together when changing from one language to another. This ongoing question I run into about what is or isn’t a real world is as interesting to me as the words themselves.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

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Drabble 84 – Wight

Sometimes objects in my house rattle. I haven’t yet found a reason to explain this, but every few days a picture frame will shake a bit, or a plant will wobble while I’m working. This might have scared me in the past, but right now I just accept it as a quirk of my house. Objects shake. Floors creak. The blackberry bushes climb the fence. It’s our normal.

The concept of ghosts still scares me, don’t get me wrong. I don’t play with Ouija boards or dare spirits to show themselves, in part because, by daylight hours, I’m a skeptic. But every time an object shakes or I read a horror story at night, I wonder, and wondering is enough to convince me that I don’t need to know everything, actually.

So I’ll let my plants and picture frames keep wobbling. It’s like a little hello from beyond the veil, a reminder that the world is interesting and wide and mysterious.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

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Drabble 83 – Coruscant

When I was younger, I used to hide myself away. Not literally; hide and seek was usually, among my group of friends, a reason to scare one another. Somewhere in childhood I learned that I should be embarrassed of things, and I started speaking more softly, hiding my intelligence and curiosity, and dressing more like a tomboy because being a girl, to my understanding, was to be a lot of things that I definitively was not.

While the old instincts to be embarrassed still linger, I no longer try to hide myself. I wear my gender and all its hyper-feminine trappings proudly; I’m no longer afraid of lipstick or dresses or high heels, even as I recognize their patriarchal roots. I wear them because I like them, and because I enjoy the feeling of seeing somebody’s face change when they assume one thing about me from the way I look and discover another.

I had these things shoved on me because that’s what I was supposed to do or be like or enjoy, and I hated them. But as I’ve grown up, I’ve found that I like cooking and gardening and wearing pastels. There’s no harm in any which way you choose to present yourself or spend your time, provided, of course, that it’s you doing the choosing.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

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Drabble 81 – Cualacino

Cualacino

All language is arbitrary. You’ll often run into people who want to shut down conversations by saying that something isn’t a “real word” or that a lack of “proper” grammar somehow obfuscates a point. If it’s not clear, I find those arguments absurd; language is all an invention, and, if you can understand a person’s meaning even when it isn’t expressed exactly how you’d like it to be, there’s no breakdown in communication.

It seems like people really believe in real words, as if those, too, weren’t invented by somebody somewhere. But that raises an interesting question; at what point does an invented word become a real one?

“Cualacino,” my word for today, is apparently an Italian word for the ring left behind from a cold glass. Except it’s not; as far as I can tell, it’s a word somebody made up as part of one of those ‘untranslateable words’ lists that then got circulated as truth. At what point does its meaning become concrete?

Research is important.  I found this word on a list of words that don’t translate into English (despite the fact that ‘the ring left behind from a cold glass’ is, in fact, a translation) and I could have continued pushing the idea that this word really exists in Italian because it’s convenient or interesting or because I trusted a site with a cute illustration more than a lack of etymology or the Italian people I saw blogging about having never heard the word. It isn’t real, no matter how many cute drawings you attach to it.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

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Turpitude

Drabble 80 – Turpitude

Turpitude

Olympia by Edouard Manet

I like offering help. I don’t like accepting help.

I am fiercely independent, sometimes to my detriment. Maybe it’s because I grew up in a situation that made me feel impossibly dependent on somebody else. Maybe it’s because I was raised by a similarly independent mother. Maybe it’s because I want to be beholden to no one.

Understanding the reason won’t change it. This is who I am; a woman who values independence above convenience, who is happy to extend her hand but shies away from anybody else’s, who would rather work long hours for low pay than hear, “It’s okay, I’ll take care of you.”

This isn’t an indictment or a confession. Anybody who has known me for more than two seconds knows that I always bite off more than I can chew and then chew it anyway until my jaw aches. It may not be the best way to be, but it’s how I am.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

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Flora

Drabble 79 – Flora

Flora

79 isn’t a particularly interesting number, but when I realized that today would mark my 79th drabble for this blog, I was a little taken aback.

I feel like I’m in a constant state of questioning whether I am cut out for this. By ‘this’ I mean a bit of everything–writing, mostly, but I’m always wondering whether I’m any good at anything at all. It’s not a matter of asking for compliments or reassurance, either, because if I wasn’t actually confident in my writing to some degree, I wouldn’t put it online for other people to read.

Still, doubt creeps in. The other day I scrubbed mold out of a windowsill and wondered how it got there, how it got so bad. Why didn’t I notice? Why didn’t I catch it sooner? It’s that slow, incremental growth that gets you, and, even when it’s cleaned up, you punish yourself for letting it get that way in the first place.

I should quit, I think. And then I follow that thought back to its source, a dark, brittle little thing that sends shoot and tendrils outward until they choke out everything else. I can’t kill it. I can’t stop it. But I can deal with it, whether it’s with bleach and a paper towel or my own dogged determination to outgrow it.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

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