Monday, March 19, 2012

Old People Say the Darnedest Things:
Episode #10: Vocab

Upper East Side, 5th Avenue

My Scrabble Friend is not a native English speaker (she grew up in Hungary), but her vocab is extensive. Occasionally she reads the dictionary, just for fun. And when reading a new book, she'll jot down any unknown words, look them up later and commit them to memory.

Often when I stop by for a visit, she'll show me her latest list of learned words.  "Do you know what "primipara" means?  And "subterfuge"?  "Sobriquet"?  "Vacuous"?" she'll ask, before concluding: "English is marvelous."

* * *

Sometimes her word choice surprises me.  Recently, she told me she'd mentioned - in passing - to her friend Jim that her toaster oven was on the fritz, and Jim dropped by a few days later with a replacement appliance.  A sweet gesture, to be sure, but everything in my Scrabble Friend's small apartment is either white, beige, or the palest lemon yellow, a calming color scheme she meticulously maintains.  This new toaster oven, however, was black and silver.  She showed me where she had stashed it, out of view, in the cabinet under her sink.

"At first I was going to tell him that it just didn't go," she confessed, "But then I said to myself, "Don't be an a**hole."

Always a good move when faced with generosity.

* * *

Later, she ended a story with "...and so I told her, "It's none of your cotton-pickin' business!""  I wonder which book she got that term from...

* * *

Yesterday, over a game of Scrabble, my friend brought up her memoirs, a project we've been slowly piecing together.

"I want to use the word 'flummoxed' in my story."

"Ok. What were you flummoxed by, in your life?"

"Oh, lots of things."

Yeah, me too. Me too.

1 comment:

Sonja said...

I love her so much. And I don't even know her.