I’ve been thinking about words a lot lately. Particularly words that have similar sounds but entirely different meanings or words that sound and are spelled the same but mean something different. Words communicate and if one doesn’t have the right words, it’s hard to get the point across. It all started when one of my friends was recalling a recent trip to the emergency.
“And you know what it’s like in emergency, they are all idiots,” she said. Well, now, they are not all idiots but I can certainly understand her frustration. It’s hard to know what anyone is going through by looking at them. As she went on, I started to think about the word emergency and that the word emerge was in the word emergency. Then I thought the word emerge sounded nice and pleasant, like a butterfly emerging from the cocoon. It made me feel like I’d arrived. Emerge. But then the word emergency didn’t make me feel that way at all. Then I wondered, who is in charge of words anyway?
“Are you listening to me?” she says. Uh huh. I lied.
It was probably later the next day when I was thinking about the conversation and I thought of the word hospital and that it is part of the word hospitality. I love hospitality! I mean, whether I’m guest or host, there is nothing like good hospitality. So what was the person in charge of words thinking when they named a hospital a hospital? What were they thinking? I should have their job.
A little while later, same friend starts talking about how one time she was explaining an event to a group of people and said ejaculation instead of explosion. In the uncomfortable silence, she realized her mistake. Once words are spoken, you cannot bring them back. I thought Freudian slip but whatever, apparently, they were not impressed. Bad visual. I think those people had a skewed perception of her for like, forever. It’s a good thing I like her so much.
Then today, I was at the gym and as I was leaving, some teenagers were pointing to sign that said, Please refrain from… and they were saying refrain, refrain, please refrain. So I started to think about the word. Refrain means to hold oneself back and also is a line or lines that is repeated in a verse or song. It’s like a conspiracy. I love singing!
Then I went into overdrive. Think about you, ewe, and a u-turn. And then what about I, eye, and aye-aye and aye yai yai? The number two, to, too, and t00-too, the ballerina dress.
I decided I should probably just relax and not worry about words so much. It’s beyond my control. I’m only responsible for my behaviour, a liberating thought. Everybody can just do whatever they want, I’m not responsible for their behaviour. I am only responsible for me. Ah. Relief, somehow. I think I’ll have a bath.