On waking to a blind tongue

September 30, 2012 at 10:51 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

At the coffee shop I’m overhearing a language lesson – Portuguese, according to their thick green paperbacks. The young blonde guy in a black t-shirt listens, stoic, and sips his coffee as the older woman halts and bumps along, stopped by phrases such as, “residential” and “pledge”.

Last year I taught at least a hundred private English classes. For my sweet and daring Japanese ladies, who wanted to know how to write letters to their children’s principal. For my gentle, brilliant Korean girls, who pined to trade any knowledge of English for a normal amount of friends. For Kompheak, who taught me how to ride a dirt bike and how to handle French liquor, not in that order.

There is something so vulnerable about learning a language. Blind tongue, foreign terrain. You are stupid, on purpose.

I felt this way when learning Khmer, learning to say I wanted to go to the market. To say, “beautiful” and “ice”.

It makes me think of my friend Dean who teaches the art of clowning. Clown is the ultimate crash-course in vulnerability. You cultivate a mental state of openness. You enter a room and become reborn, every time. It’s a hard feeling to describe, but I know when I’m in it. It comes on when I take a long walk and everything seems fascinating. Fiery rust etching the glossy black of an iron fence. Leaves made of smaller cells made of smaller cells. You’re awake. I’ve spent long stretches of days like this, but not lately.

It’s been busy; the usual excuses.

At the next table, the woman holds up one hand… she’s saying to her tutor, “Pare pare pare pare….”

 Stop stop stop stop. 

Leave a Comment »

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com. | The Pool Theme.
Entries and comments feeds.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: