Thursday, July 31, 2008

I started writing this a while ago, then lost it before I could post, but now it only fits into this distended-time-idea I wanted to talk about, so I

[got cut off!]
...am not going to change the "date of posting" which is available as an option to me.

Still thinking about time, and scale - as I learn Korean from Omoni (Omonim, to be polite), my mother-in-law. (That's not her name, it's just a polite way to say "mother.") The hierarchy in the language dictates that I cannot merely parrot what she says to me; my relationship to her warrants a different politeness when I speak to her, compared to when speaks to me. Just a simple "What - (what was that you said)?" - which is known to me as "muot?" - one syllable, literally the equivalent of "what?" - turns into "muorago hashosumnika?" - a mere seven syllables later - when speaking to Omonim. I've developed a very friendly "huh?" kind of non-verbal grunt, as compromise.

Which reminds me of this page (Japanese only, sorry) with features Chinese characters whose phonetic (Japanese) pronunciation is a bit long - my favorite is this one, ほねとかわとがはなれるおと "honetokawatogahanareruoto" - which translates to: "the sound of skin and bone separating." So many syllables for such a brief sound...or maybe not?

Meanwhile, Aaron Kunin is doing some hard-core academic work on character - on It-narratives, and the notion of Character as not "what defines a single, individual person," (the common way we think about character) but as "all the ..." oh crap how did he phrase it? In lieu of butchering it, I will say that it was a collective notion of character - either all the persons possessing such character, or all the instances of said character/characteristic, or... And the It-narrative was, apparently, a popular subgenre/form of prose in 19th-century Britain, where the protagonist would be some non-human object, traveling through society.

But I was thinking about this as I thought about the long accordions of time, sitting at the dinner table with Eugene's parents, noting characteristics in them - so many, it's disturbing, and curious - that I am so familiar with, via Eugene. And this strange sensation of being so far from someone, and yet feeling so much of his presence - no, his character - as placed on a fragmented, distended scale of time - displayed in increments in the proclamations, mannerisms, and facial features of his parents. Omonim pulls watermelon out of the refrigerator and raves: "It's so good when it's cold!" (I like fruit in both cold and warm temperatures) in exactly the same tone as I've heard Eugene say many a time, and I give up on any notion of individuality that I may have still harbored.

...but the biggest player in this theater is still Time and Space, no? (As I glance, embarrassedly, at the face of a pretty good estimation of what Eugene will look like in 25 years.)

1 comment:

VanessaP said...

Very nice and yes, constellations are often found in stretchy socks. Though they do tend to like their watermelon very very cold.