Friday, December 20, 2013

                                            LOST IN TRANSLATION

     People who travel to Europe are always amazed that Europeans are multi-lingual. Some arrogant Americans believe that every human should speak English, particularly those who choose to live on American soil. Others, like yours truly, are envious that Europeans live in such close proximity to other cultures so they can actually use the languages they learn by driving a couple of hours, and voilà, they’re in another country. Americans are already multi-lingual. For example, I speak Ohio, Wisconsin, Maryland and Oregon. You laugh, but I’m not to amusing yet. I’ve discovered that men and women all over the world are multi-lingual in another way. Women speak the following languages fluently: often, long, whenever. Men speak: car, blame and dumb.

     Women come out of the womb with an inordinate quantity of syllables. They are genetically wired to flap their jaws from day one. We speak often, using as many syllables as we can, and we do not discriminate as to time of day or night or even occasion. Women come equipped with a detail app. We don’t want our listeners to miss anything so we gather adjectives to paint word pictures for our listeners. Men have difficulty with this. They want us to cut to the chase so they can get to the sports section.Women listen for key words, and we respond to them enthusiastically, even interrupting at times. This tends to irritate men who are trying hard to just articulate a response when coming out from under the barrage of syllables. Women are multi-taskers so we like to deliver several messages at a time. This makes men tired and has been known to send them into a mouth-open slumber in the recliner.

     Men speak car, blame and dumb. Many many are fluent in car, although some specialize in “Are you kidding, Ref?” The car language is lost on women. We go car shopping with our man, and while he’s checking out the handling and turbo, we are focusing on color and mirror. Mr. Wonderful has been known to watch car tv for up to ten hours a week. He never tires of watching those wheels go round. Men can speak car to each other for hours at a time. Women are not interested in translation.

     Men also speak blame. As they are programmed from delivery to never show fear, they turn their fear into rage and blame. Don’t ever expect a man to say, “Whoa, I’m really scared.” He would express this by saying, “Why the hell did you do that?” Women must realize that when a man is blaming her for throwing the open yogurt into the garbage can that the man is really scared of racoons. (There needs to be an English/Man dictionary, and I am just the person to write it.) Men also speak fluent dumb. For example, the other day, Mr. Wonderful asked on the way out the door to the country club holiday gala, “Are you going to wear that?” “No,” I said. “I am just getting in the car with this on until we get there, and then I’m going to change into a wait person’s uniform.”

Ah, the joys of communication. And we haven’t even addressed speaking thumb.