Thursday, August 04, 2005

Lingua franca

I speak many languages: I'm fluent in female-to-female communication: the little slights, jabs and nuances that pass by my male friends. Although I've been out of the "industry" for years now, I can still pick up on techie talk - the obscure references, the almost hopeful geekiness. I'm intimately familiar with the FOB-ABCD interface (The Indianer-than-thou of "Oh, but you weren't BORN in India", and the stunned silence when I explain that I was, in fact, born in Madras.)

But how much is out there that I don't pick up on? There must be male-to-male communication that I can't parse. Maybe that's what all the sports talk is about. My incredibly stereotyped assumption, based on watching my guy friends interact with each other, has been that guys talk sports because they are uncomfortable talking about just about anything else with each other.

What passes in the interstitial zone between ages? And, how much of this is realistic? In the words of Aaliyah, "Age ain't nothin but a number." Recently, my mom claimed that people my age are always irresponsible. I pointed out that she had TWO children by my age - how irresponsible had she been? I knew I'd made my point when she laughed and changed the subject.

My need to people-watch is bubbling up to the surface. I long to observe the interactions, overhear the cellphone conversations (all the better to make up the other side, my dear.) People watching feeds my critical, "what was she thinking with those pants" side, but it also melts my heart - the elderly couple holding hands, the son holding open a door for his mom or the toddler with chocolate ice cream stains everywhere.

5 comments:

Amelie-Freak said...

Your post reminds me of a really funny commentary I heard on NPR about female vs. male communication. Here's the link:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4784374

brimful said...

I'll teach you about sports talk when you get to the Bay. And then maybe you can teach me about all the other languages that you know!

maisnon said...

Amelie-freak: loved the link!!

Brimful: if I had a TV, I'd watch sports all the time. I'm particuarly partial to hockey :) I get my sports-freak tendencies from my....mom.

shell said...

ABC = Already Been Chewed.
ABCD reference is real funny (probably because it's all new to me. Heeh.)

Then there's this whole Chinese thing about saying exactly opposite of what you really feel.

For example, if you dislike someone, you'd say "You are my good friend." If you don't trust the guy with just a dime, you'd say "I trust you with my life." Ok, maybe I exaggerate a little, but I think there's definitely something about the Asian culture, this double-speak emphasized with excessive politeness.

Chai said...

i love people watching. i inherited that skill from my mom. i may be obvious when i people watch... fine i am obvious when i watch.

they flip out when they find out i was born in india as well. and that i know my mothertongue. i ain't confused about things. i'm just confused about how i can pay back my damn loans.