Sunday, October 23, 2005

I am a stupid word-user

They say you are born with X amount of taste buds and all through life they die on you and never grow back till one day you find yourself eating spinach and thinking it is the best thing you ever ate. Tonight spinach-eating was eight years old again but I liked it. Oh man. I spend an amazing amount of energy controlling my urge to throw tantrums. If I seem subdued or...


I have no memory of writing that. It must have been a couple days ago.

Last night Okie Mark and I went to see Calexico with Iron & Wine at the Roseland theatre. It was complex and MULTIFACETED and made me feel complex and multifaceted... so much so that I found myself scribbling in the dark notes that would only baffle me today. At one point during the show I counted 12 people on stage.

In various combinations and manifestations:
5 guitars
1 steel guitar
2 drummers
3 drum sets
3 singers
2 horns
1 xylophone
1 accordion
1 beard

It was a long day, yesterday. I got up at 7 to go running across town with an interpreter friend who is just starting to run and likes it when I join her on the track. So I do.

Eventually, in our paces we drifted away in the morning fog. Alone I collected drops of mist on my eyelashes, tried to marry them into alligator tears by blinking hard. Surface tension.

I ran several miles and finished with a rush quarter mile lap at 1:32 then one at 1:45. I felt cheeky pink and euphoric.

It became hot and sunny and dried-leafy in every lee. This fall is spicy and aromatic. We don't get many falls like this. We get mush and leaf slime. Maybe that was the old days.

I went home, wrote an annotated bibliography, packed rice and beans and spinach into my bag, water bottle, tea, 553 pens and all my books of lists.

I love pens and lists and have both in abundance, at all times. I love tea too.

And I love interpreting. And I love that I love it because last year I was a wax statue and I felt brittle and melty at the same time. Last year was an impulsive marriage I didn't want to own up to. This year I am really in love.

Sign language interpreting is difficult in some very unexpected ways. For example, listening is passive. You don't have to try, your brain doesn't have to try, your ears don't use muscles in the process. If you are in a class you can drift out and snap back to attention when you hear the words MID-TERM with little effort.

Sing language reception is not passive. Reception requires the use of muscles in the eyes, and expression the use of your fingers, hands, wrists, forearms, biceps, shoulders, neck, face and even often core muscles. Additionally, because of their different, and thus compatible modalities interpretation is done simultaneously. That means an interpreter must be able to master the art of being both receptive and expressive at the same time. Woah.

If the interpretation is done from English to ASL, for example, the interpreter listens to the ongoing message, processes the meaning and intent of the speaker and then recreating the message in an entirely different language while they speak on, while also maintaining enough distance behind the speaker to conceptualize and contextualize the information in order to not skew the meaning.

This is an incredibly complex mental task. Anyone who has learned a second language knows intimately that there is no word for word, concept for concept linguistic equivalent between any two languages. So for accuracy the interpreter must, by the nature of language, listen long enough before beginning to interpret to know what is actually being expressed.

The whole process puts you in this weird state of mind, Zen-like, hyper-aware and unconscious at the same time. If I interpreted something for 45 minutes and you asked me to summarize what was discussed I would be hard-pressed to tell you.

Anyway, I spent the rest of the day in classes, interpreting or talking about interpreting. Its what I am always doing, incase you were wondering about the stuff I don't write about. (there is lots)

My last class ends at 630 on Friday night and this time if year it is already getting dark. And nobody is on a campus on Friday afternoon, Friday evening it is a graveyard.

On the way home I ate edamame and tried to throw the pods into open car windows at stop lights.

My BF is camping for three days with his brother and other unsavories in the middle of eastern Oregon wilderness. Power baby, to you. I hopped the bus and rolled downtown in style.

When I was young, improbable, mystified, theoretical, perplexed, adrift, bewildered, and spellbound... when life became vexatious, when life floored me which it often did, always did, I used to ride the bus downtown at night, especially during the winter. I wandered the streets of downtown Portland for hours smelling the city, insulated and poignant, the 15 year old kids selling heroin, the squeaky clean nervous, the profoundly dirty explicit, the effluvia of the business workday, the impalpable emanation of order. Invisibility, chaos, quantum theory, and absolute normalcy. What I projected meant very little, but it meant the world to me. Still.

This night... I never thought one night would be the last night wandering like that in obscurity. It just happened to me like birth and hair growth. This night, last night the streets were brick and covered with the tiny yellow leaves of the decorative trees they plant through the bus mall downtown. And it was silent and loud, squealing tires, jarring, public fountains. Fucking seamless and awesome. Like this whole diorama from my youth.

I felt likely to want to wander but in fast paces went to meet Mark for the show.

Mark likes whiskey, and while I have no cavil towards drinkers of whiskey, I generally don't tend to gravitate towards the drink myself. Unless I am with Mark. Then I have a few and generally become disoriented and fairly amenable.

I leaned against the balcony, midthigh, pressing forward with my stupid thoughts on that point of physical leverage, my conundrum that I could actually become invisible, dare to feel the same thing that everyone felt, be the same person...

OMG I just realized it is 4:18am and am shocked out of knowing where I was going with this anyway. Damnit I have a paper to write tomorrow.

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