June 15, 2008

I was hanging out with Julia and Simon the other night and I realized something.  I started thinking about common languages.

My most cohesive language community was in college.  The best way I can describe it is an episode of ST:TNG, Darmok.  This alien race spoke a metaphoric language.  If you didn’t understand the proper nouns, the circumstance they were describing and the emotion it evoked then it didn’t matter if you understood the words.  Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra.

Ours was a language not really of metaphor, but so dependent on obscure pop culture references it might as well have been.  To this day if you put Kiefer and I in a room together I think eventually something would be too little too late.  Brooke knows his name isn’t Warren.  And Gavin, well Gavin was always trying to save us from ourselves.

It was so pervasive that even now, when I watch tv and movies adding bits and pieces to my lexicon is an almost unconscious habit.  I think a lot of people have a common language of this sort.  There’s a reason we call it pop culture.  Sometimes it’s the obvious Jordan Catalano and Jake Ryans of life.  Sometimes it’s the smaller daft hippie moments.  Except I might as well be saying oh fooey I burned the darn muffins because no one else is listening.

To be fair, if I told Julia I shot him in the leg, she’d probably giggle.  But she wouldn’t know why Sheppard gets to be Mr. Fantastic and I can’t really blame her because Torri Higginson wasn’t my favorite Dr. Weir either.  She would understand how much fun a sarcophagus could be.
Cat would be five by five with the whole monkey pants debate, or any pants for that matter.  And she’s known a Logan or two.
Bev knows I lost my shoe.  Jeff even knows that one because he lost his shoe once.
They’re colorful splashes of friendships peppered with a common and esoteric language.  It’s fun to be a part of them and it’s fun to be understood.

And I write all this today because I’ve come to accept there are languages I speak and I don’t know anyone that understands them.  sine qua non.

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11 responses to “no one speaks my language anymore

  1. Brooke

    Oh the good old days. It’s funny I use “I don’t feel as though I need to explain my art to you” in everyday situations and only the old college gang would understand BUT also I know the importance of “always keep them guessing”. good times. What was it in the water on a strict Christian College campus that made us understand eachother in a way noone else outside of our small little circle will understand. I guess we will never know because “the fat man walks alone”. ; )

    • aj

      It’s fun to remember because you’re right, no one will understand except us. I have to admit I don’t feel the need to explain my art to you is still one of my favorites and most used as well. It’s superb.

  2. Cathleen

    I think IM and email has had a much larger effect on common languages than any of us even know. I’ll have you know I have a friend I literally speak in IM audibles with, for no reason whatsoever except it’s a language we get. I’ve taken to adding asterisks into my conversation to emphasize an action. There’s an almost laziness in the way we choose to converse with those we’re close to. I don’t HAVE to speak in full sentences or even in coherent sentence fragments, because all I have to say is “SEVEN!!!” and a whole world of meaning is conveyed.

    All that being said, I speak way more Chandler than any other pop culture-ese. Even though I’m FLUENT in pants. 🙂

    • aj

      Chandler pants.

      You certainly don’t have to speak in full sentences. Rather than being a symptom of laziness (which we occasionally are) I think it’s more fun. You’re instantly working on several levels more than the words themselves.

      You make an interesting point about IM speak invading the spoken language. I have to say I’m not a fan. But if it works for you in certain circumstances who am I to disapprove?

  3. Kiefer

    OK, I know I’m late to the party but how do I get left holding the “you said it was a nice size” bag… That hurts, ya come across your name and BAM, cool chicks bashin you manhood. I think I could actually hear you smiling as I read the post, ah the good times.

    PS. why couldn’t I have been mentioned with a sweet line from pulp fiction or Tommy Boy. rather be stuck with a fat boy line the a “little” boy one. Take care

    • aj

      The effort you moron. The effort was too little too late.
      heehee. In my defense, you know the whole bit so you’re one of the few who would know the full context of the line I gave you. Which is why I gave it to you and why it seemed innocuous at the time. I’ll save a better one for you next time.
      Though, to be fair I did think of both Tommy Boy and Mission Impossible for you. I just couldn’t fit any of those lines quite as seamlessly into the whole blog.
      And I was smiling the whole time. This is entirely one of my favorite entries 🙂

  4. Kiefer

    I’m glad to hear, literally heard your laugh when I was reading it. Simply put it didn’t really hurt hear or hear….but right hear.

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