I’m generally known as a chatty person – if I’m around people I know and like, there’s a good chance I’m talking my head off. I’ve gotten a little quieter through the years, but I don’t think I’ve lost the talkative habit fully yet. You can see it even in my writing, where what should be short, sweet posts turn into lengthy rambles. (I once contemplated having “Clueless Loves To Ramble” as a tag, but then I realised I’d be tagging pretty much every post with it, and it would serve no purpose whatsoever.) Even my job involves being wordy – I’m constantly on the lookout for fresh, new ways to say the same thing.
Which is why it’s very surprising and slightly alarming that lately, I’m becoming more and more like my mother, in that I’m starting to take after her distinctive style of communication. Let me elaborate. My mother is known for these kinds of conversations (I’ve translated from Tamil so it may have lost a bit of its style):
Mom: Please bring me that thing.
Me: What thing?
Mom: *snaps fingers* THAT thing.
Me: WHAT thing, Mom?
Mom: You know, that thing!
Me: No, I don’t know! What thing?
Mom: YOU KNOW, that! Tsk! Never mind, I’ll go get it myself.
Me: Wha..? USE YOUR WORDS, MOTHER.
Chances are very likely the word she was looking for was something as simple as ‘pen’. I used to find this inability to find the right words amusing, but I’m realising with a creeping horror that I’m becoming this person. I wouldn’t have realised if it weren’t for my cousin (who now lives with us) pointing it out to me. Many times have I started a conversation with her and then trailed off, resulting in her having to tell me through gritted teeth, “Finish your sentence!” Sometimes it’s because I can’t find the right word, other times it’s because I’ve forgotten what I was going to say midway through my sentence, and often, it’s a case of me having forgotten what I was going to say because I spent too long searching for the right word. And, you know, most of the time, people I’m speaking with can’t actually read my mind, so it must be frustrating to be on the receiving end of incomplete thoughts and fragmented sentences.
This is a worrisome trend for a healthy 30-year-old, and certainly for someone who deals with words for a living. I cannot afford to not be able to think of words. It’s not as much of a problem when I’m writing because I have time to mull things over, but my dreams of being a radio jockey are surely dashed now. I imagine radio audiences will not take kindly to long pauses while I hunt inside my brain for just the right word to use in a particular situation.
Anyway, allow me to express my feelings in a limerick (because this is an L post, after all, and I need to convince myself I’m the master of my own vocabulary):
Sometimes I leave my sentences to hang
Even though my cousin will surely harangue
I can’t find the right word
It’s really absurd
I’m just sick and tired of this whole…
(“Finish your sentence!”)