Friday, January 28, 2011

Can't hear ya, sonny!

Among the things that frustrate me -- people who are hard to understand.

Of course, some people have speech impediments. I'm not talking about them. Nor am I talking about people who have learned English as a second language. They deserve credit for whatever level of mastery they have achieved with our difficult language.

No, I'm talking about mumblers, for the most part, chronic mumblers ... who could improve their speaking skills if they tried. Or people who for no explainable reason, just are hard to understand.

I work with a certain someone in a position of authority over me who I think must stick their cellphone in their mouth when they call me, because I CANNOT UNDERSTAND them. I struggle and strain and try to comprehend at least enough verbage to gain some idea what they are talking about. They sound like the teacher in the old Charlie Brown shows, I kid you not. Wa-wah-wa-wah-wa-wa. Every so often, I ask them to repeat themselves, and the muted trumpet just plays the same song again.

I spent six months of my life in a fog of utter non-comprehension, as I tried to learn one of the world's toughest languages, by immersion in its native land. It was the hardest mental challenge I have ever endured -- utterly exhausting. Frustrating. Humiliating. One is reduced to the level of a little child, pointing for what one wants, dammed up mentally, making linguistic gaffes that are difficult to correct. What one wants to say is a whole roomful of words, that must squeeze through the keyhole of your suddenly incapacitated lips.

Your native idioms and witticisms, become useless. You can no longer say, "Miss, I sure would like another slice of that great-looking crusty bread on yonder platter. Simply delicious! What's your recipe?" Rather, at best, you say, "Bread. There. Some please mud. Where cow's bicycle?"

Having endured that once in my life, I don't care to endure it again.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very funny post ECD. I share your frustration about mumblers. I have one mumbler who likes lengthy telephone conversations and 50% I am guessing when I reply to a question.

"cow's bicycle"?