In college I used foreign languages as a conversation starter. Everyone was either from somewhere else or had at least been somewhere else and learned the language. While I wanted to learn everything about everything that insatiable thirst for knowledge was quelled with a dabble of information. I set out to learn “I love you” in as many languages as possible. To this day I can still recall many of them. I’ve done few things well in the social sphere but that may have been my smartest ice breaker ever.
I love languages with the nuances and variety, a lyrical metaphor for the people of the world who may look and sound different from me but underneath it all we are still the same. Egomaniacs that we are, people were more than happy to share their knowledge, culture, and histories with me. Since I know of no casual way to meet new people I went in prepared with a task to fulfill.
I speak English and I used to be fluent in French. I know a smattering of high school German and college Russian. With the help of google translate and Red’s old assignments I have rudimentary Italian and by nature of my time in SoCal and the fabulous school we attended I have a basic comprehension of Spanish. Of course I understand music as well, the written symbols which translate to meaning and action and interpretation and so forth; yes music is a language too. I understand work, tasks, assignments, and goals. There is one universal language, however, which I lack.
I continue to struggle with social skills although I have finally stopped looking to media for my instruction and finally turn inwardly to my heart an my interpretation of the scriptures for guidance. Even more confusing to me than the rules of social engagement is the language of play.
I don’t know how to play.
As a kid I was the oldest of a large family, I was the little mama,I have always been a grown up. I didn’t belong with my peer group at school. My hobby was a solitary, task oriented one: piano. I function best in structured environments, I am a cheerful and hard worker. But I don’t know how to play. I can swim but I don’t know how to play in the water. I’m a good teacher but I don’t know how play with my children. I’m a capable pianist but I don’t know how to play without sheet music in front of me.
It’s a language that has eluded me my whole life, that of play. The closest I get to play is structured fun-based activities. Museum trips happen to be one of my favourite forms of “play.”
(If it sounds like I’m depressed I’m actually not. I’m just pensive while I wait for this virus to pass. There is very little filling my day between Theraflu for breakfast and NyQuil for dessert. I haven’t taken so many medications in years.)