Monday, November 26, 2012

Reflecting on Reflection.

 The degree to which we reflect the people around us intrigues me.

Many years ago, when my sister would spend time with her friend Naomi, she would come home with Naomi-isms radiating from her person.  We would point this out with juvenile derision as if it were some unique and super-weird phenomenon.

But it wasn't. At least, it was not unique.

These days, I notice the same thing going on with the natives. The expressions they use and the attitudes they adopt take on shades of their latest comrade with fascinating ease.

If you know a person well, it doesn't take but about 3 to 4 sentences-worth of eavesdropping to be able to tell who is on the other end of a phone conversation. Not because of the subject matter as much as the expression and voice qualities of the person you can hear.

When The Chief's voice deepens and gets louder, I know who called him. It adopts a whole other aura when he's talking to his brothers. I can tell instantly if an old friend from his bachelor days makes a rare call.

Recently, his phone kept putting the person he was speaking with on hold without him knowing when another call would come in, and transferring him to the incoming call. One sentence, I was the one responding to him, the next, he was talking to Mrs. P.. And then I called back and he realized he was in conversation with me again.  It was more than a little confusing on various fronts, not the least of which is that you use a different tone with your wife than you do with Mrs P. and who knows what sort of havoc might be wrought on either account? When he realized what was going on, the portions of conversation I was privy to were held with a man who was choosing his words and tone very carefully.

I have friends who perk me up. Friends who calm me down. Friends who make me crazy. Friends who can make me see everything through their eyes just by coming and sitting beside me in church, I start thinking like they think. I see the humor in everything in which they see humor. Do I talk like they do when I'm with them? I don't know. I can't hear myself the way I hear other people.

Then there are those people who have spoken normally their entire lives, go to Canada or Wisconsin, and within weeks are warping their native tongue in unspeakable ways.

What causes it, I wonder. Do our words and demeanor mold only to those people we are fond of? Do we  adopt their traits because we approve of them at some level? Does our instinctive effort to find common ground with the Canadians inspire us to start saying our "o's" and "i's" in ways never uttered by Georgian lips?

These last couple days I have had a very sore throat. So sore that I haven't been talking much. When I do talk, it is mostly a whisper. Yesterday the Chief made a comment to which I would normally have responded with a bit of well-chosen sass. I said as much as could be said without saying anything. He laughed, "I believe I like a silent wife!" he said with undue enjoyment.

My friend Hilda called to give me the announcements from the ladies' Sunday School class. She talked. I whispered. By the end of the conversation she was speaking very, very softly. I smiled to myself.

My children too, began to sidle up and whisper when they spoke to me. The whole household was subdued.

In the evening, I was huddled in bed, reading. The Chief came and told me about a difficult repair job he had successfully completed. He whispered the entire time.
Then he fixed the covers around me. He always knows just how covers ought to be fixed. "I hope you feel better soon." He whispered.

It was very nice.
I believe I like a silent husband.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Brief Musings of a Fevered Brain.

Do you ever find yourself pondering whether to be happy or sad?
This morning, after coaxing myself through the beginnings of the morning routine, it dawned on me that I was sick. I suspected it yesterday, but there was little time to give the matter due consideration.
This morning though, it reached the point where consideration was no longer crucial to the awareness thereof.
After family devotions I pawned my various duties off on the most susceptible victims, some of whom didn't exactly agree to assume them, and went back to bed. 
I woke up several hours later to an empty house: The natives had been delivered to school, the laundry had been started, and some of it folded.  The kitchen was cleaned up and a note of sympathy from the Chief  lay on the dining room table.
It was the first day in many that there hadn't been a sick child at home, appointments to keep, hot lunch to make for school, or some other significant obligation calling for extra time and attention.
I had looked forward to this day, had seen it coming from afar...unless it was a mirage...which such days sometimes prove to be...and invested a significant quantity of hopeful anticipation into it.

"So...", I reflected, while padding quietly around in the kitchen in search of something to alleviate symptoms, "should I be happy that to have gotten sick on a day I didn't have anything big planned, or should I be aggravated to have gotten sick on the one day I had nothing else planned?"
And I contemplated this for a little while... the pros and cons of each choice...when suddenly the portion of my brain which mothers the rest of it, kicked in (I can only assume this particular mother had also been in bed with a fever as well, to have arrived so late on the scene) and said, "What could be more irrational than considering the advantages of being annoyed?"
And of course, she was right, as mothers always are, (ahem).
It's cold out, and rainish. But inside it's nice and warm, the lamps are lit, and I have nothing to do.
What could be nicer?

No!...don't ask!! I might start pondering it....