Thursday, 16 April 2009

A language of one's own

I came to remember an anecdote from my past today, reading a short reply to a post on a mailing list. If you're on the list, you'll maybe recognize, but it doesn't really matter where, or who, or what about exactly. What matters is that the original post had something disturbing about it, just like there always had seemed to be something disturbing about the posts by this list-member, while I couldn't quite make out, what that something was.

The reply I read today had me remember the following incident, that by no means was an isolated one, but because of one little detail maybe the most intriguing one of its kind.

I was in my early twenties, was living and studying at Munich at that time, but used to spend the holidays at my mom's. It were the summer holidays, my mom and I had went to town, shopping. A guy in his forties came walking towards us in the street, he said hello to my mom, they both stopped and started small-talking. I'd never seen that guy before, and my mom introduced me. It turned out, he was a business-aquaintance of my father's.

The guy asked, what I was doing, and my mom told him I was studying theatre theory at Munich. "That must be exciting," he said, making this little, but also very obvious turn towards me, "isn't it?" There I was, all blank in my head. As usual, my mom "saved" the situation, answered in my place, and then changed the subject. While I couldn't but notice a trace of resignation in the way, the guy turned his attention back towards my mom.

"He asked me," I said to my mom when we'd went on on our way a couple of minutes later. "Why do you always have to answer in my place, whenever someone asks me about something that concerns me?!" "Well," she said, "I don't understand why you're so upset. You obviously didn't know what to say, and we can't have people wait for you to find out, can we?"

She was right. I didn't know what the heck to say. I never knew. Because she'd never given me a chance to find out.

This is one way to make sure, your kids won't have a language of their own.

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