Thursday, January 6, 2011


I wonder, if I could go back with today's knowledge...

What if I had a little more?

I wish there were a word for this.

One of the most fascinating moments I've ever seen in my life is mild surprise. When there's shock, or terror, that overrides the person--and anyway, if the other person is that far for long enough to see well, there's probably reason for me to be focusing on something else.

But that moment where you see them go, "Oh. The world is not as I thought it was." Not getting the rug pulled out from under them. Just watching it move a little.

And one of the ways I see that, in myself, is finding that someone has had the same thought I have. In the abstract, I recognize that this is probably happening--there are probably some thoughts that many people have. Yet, somehow, it's odd to fall into the statistics.

One of the times I remember that clearly happening has to do with the first line. The idea of going back to the beginning of my life, with the understanding I have gained. Sarcasm isn't something the average six- or seven-year-old understands; adults treat children as less and this is incredibly useful for eavesdropping and getting honest answers about some topics. I remember watching two adults gossip about me when I was very little, and being fascinated with how completely honest they were being. I mistook thoughtlessness for bravery in honesty, but it was still helpful.

And then there's, I wish there were a word for this, which is not only something that I see or hear other people thinking, but realize people must have thought for the longest time. This is how languages form. This started with a Socrates quote, which, translated, reads: "I am not an Athenian or a Greek, but a citizen of the world." I remember reading it in my history book with a partial translation, the ancestor word of "cosmopolitan" was still in place. And it occurred to me that, yes, there's probably a word for what I want, however, creating words for an unfulfilled need is an art.

And yet. Even with these thoughts that almost everyone has thought, we still have such wide gulfs. Not even between cultures, just between two kids who grew up in the same town and went to the same school can simply not understand what the other is thinking. Even if I try my best to explain, and the other tries to understand, there are simply places it won't make sense. Even if someone knows me better than anyone does, better than I know myself.

Halfway across the world, someone else already understands, but here and next to my heart, this person doesn't.

Walks off, singing, "You say po-tay-to, and I say po-tah-to...

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