Would you rather have the ability to hear, but not be able to speak, or be able to speak, but not hear? And what I mean is: would you rather be able to understand others but not be able to communicate (talk, write, etc), or be able to communicate but not be able to understand others (hear, read, etc)?
It’s an often talked about fact in the expat community, that you lose some of your speech while living abroad. You stop using idioms, because they don’t translate in a different language (or because non-native English speakers (or whatever your language) don’t understand them). You have to look up words in the thesaurus a lot more often (case in point: I had to look up “translate” in the previous sentence because the only word I could think of to convey my meaning was “transmit”). You start using words for things that foreigners use (car park instead of parking lot, baby cot instead of crib, take-away instead of to-go). I often find myself struggling to find the right words for things lately. The language barrier is compounded, for me, by not usually talking to more than two people most days, one of them being a 1 year old.
Being a writer, a lover of words, I find this development…somewhat disheartening, to say the least. Words used to flow out of me, my mouth, my pen, my keyboard, but I’m having a harder time of late. I have a plan of action…if I could only find the time to put it in place…
So obviously speaking (aloud or in print) is important to me. But what if I could communicate, but not hear/understand? Well, that would suck, but at least then I wouldn’t hear the bullshit spouted by some people, the hatred, the bigotry. But I also wouldn’t be able to understand my husband, or my baby, when they say they love me.
Interesting conundrum. I feel like it’s self-centered to say that I would rather be able to share my feelings with the world, put my thoughts out there, than hear what they think. But I would rather tell my husband and son I love them a thousand times and not hear that they love me, than to not be able to tell them. And that seems a bit less narcissistic. I hope. 🙂
So what about you? Which would you prefer? Everyone who comments on This or That in the month of June is registered to win a 4×6 print of this photo