Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Like a Fox

I don't like words, I love them. The music of language is intoxicating to me. Every sound, every inflection, every subtle nuance, strikes a cord inside of my brain.

There are some words that are simply better than others in certain situations. Each word has its own connotations, an insinuated meaning beyond the dictionary definition. Thusly, there are perfect words for every situation. I am sure of it. I may not know all of them, or be able to produce them easily on the spot, but they are there. Collect and hoard, for example, may have similar meanings, but the latter, to me, implies protection or defense. It congers images of people standing behind locked doors with guns before their mounds of belongings, militant, eyes ablaze with the fear of anyone coming too close. Am I alone, do you see it too? Am I crazy?

I often find, with no conscious decision to do so, that words play over and over in my mind like a song stuck in my head. Like mind hick ups. It may last ten minutes, or ten days, and the more I try to redirect my thoughts, the harder it is to do so.

Sometimes they are single words, sometimes phrases, a line from a movie, an especially moving speech. But I am haunted by them, linguistically imprisoned, my mind spasming, slowly examining every small detail of each word, until it is finally satisfied enough to move on. There are times when it is pleasurable, that I garner some joy in doing it. Other times I feel exhausted, and only wish that I could make it stop, like that annoying jingle that you suddenly find yourself constantly humming. This probably makes me sound crazy. And maybe I am.

There is no rhyme or reason about it. No method to the madness. One day the word "cacophony" might find its way into my mental record player. The next it might be "Gerkelnerbigenhoffstettlerfrau" (Rose's mother's maiden name, on the Golden Girls. Duh!). When I was about ten years old I can remember this happening for an especially long period of time with the name "Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis", after I watched a documentary about her life. Earlier today I replayed some of Bette Davis' lines from All About Eve, which I haven't seen in over a year. But nonetheless "her loyalty, efficiency, devotion, warmth, and affection, and so young, so young and so fair. . ." loops over and over, and over again.

Upon retrospect, and in confessing it to you now, I wonder if this isn't some troubling OCD like symptom. It certainly wouldn't be my only one. In fact, in thinking about it, I have definitely had a few strange quirks over the years.

For a long time, almost ten years, I knocked on things. Like people knock on wood, after an especially bad thought, to prevent the world from granting some unintended, extremely destructive wish. I always did it quietly, often under my desk, or on my arm rest, so no one ever really witnessed it, thankfully. In my car I would rub the dash in lieu of knocking, though this was more for bad thoughts specifically geared toward my car's function, or possible impending doom. And even though I knew it was stupid, and crazy, I couldn't mentally rest until I knocked, and so, to make my life easier, I did . To make it truly effective though, I had to knock ten times. Preferably ten groups of ten. God, how I wish I were kidding.

It is ridiculous that some tiny hidden part of me believes that I am in control of the things around me, that I can control the world with my mind, that if I refrain from knocking something bad will in fact happen. I no longer have the need to do this, well, maybe that's a lie. Extremely rarely do I feel the need to do this would probably be a more accurate, honest description. But now it feels more like a superstition than a compulsion.

I suddenly feel flushed and embarrassed, like I have revealed too much.
Maybe I am just a nut case.
No. A whack job.
No. A crazy person.
No.

What's the word I'm looking for?

4 comments:

Hennifer said...

My favorite word is perhaps, it is just much better than maybe!

I love, love, love that you referenced the Golden Girls. Recently Chel.sea Handler made reference to them and what the world would have been like were Vi.agra been available then. I love the Golden Girls, and yes you read that correctly, LOVE in the present tense :)

gabrielle said...

i ADORE your word choice. i always scored highly on 'voice' when we used to be scored on such things in writing classes, etc.

loved using POWER VERBS! active tense. yeah... good times.

perhaps you are a bit ocd though... tra la la la la.. but is this any different than you obsessing over lyrics?

B Kinch said...

Long ago, before I became mostly immune to embarrassment, if I would remember a humiliating episode from my past, I would say a word out loud...whatever the first word that came to mind. Like, if I was pondering a time I called my dad's wife by his ex-wife's name, but then I noticed the apple tree in the yard, I would say "apple." But loud...with some urgency. WTF, right?

Cheyenne said...

The word you're looking for is knock-out, duh. How many worthy adjectives are left after I've slathered you with the oh-so-tired-yet-exceedingly-satisfying fabulous, marvelous, delicious, sublime, divine...

How about splendid?

I'm sure Saint Olaf would concur...