4/03/2011
Temperamentally untalkative

I shouldn't be doing this - after all, I'm the most insecure person within a four square meter radius - but I don't know. I pick up a magazine and, rather than flick through random pages to appreciate the design or hope for an eye-catching photo, I go straight to the masthead and read the names of the people who were involved in the making of the magazine.

My official position goes along the lines of "I don't know whether this is the thing I should be doing." I've tried applying for magazines but I never got past first base, to mangle my metaphors. Actually, I never even got to first base. And then you see the same names in different publications - I think I've read too many magazines in barber shops - and you have me elaborating on something I've complained about before.

Yesterday I was having a long overdue haircut and I was reading a magazine I wouldn't usually read, partly because it's about something I wouldn't usually be interested in. Okay, it's design, but it's snobbish design, like there is such a thing as non-snobbish design. And besides, I had no choice - I was in a different barber shop, one with magazines that are either oddly irrelevant, or particularly old they're so dilapidated. You wouldn't know it's Daiana Menezes on that spread. So I picked up the one that I could practically read, and went on to read the masthead. And there it was. A person that I knew.

I could count one, two, three people I know who work in magazines. Suddenly there's a fourth, although she's someone I wasn't really particularly close with. We weren't friends in the strictest sense - we were classmates in one class, and I always thought she was annoyed at me. I mean, I was a sophomore that's too eager relative to the time I spent in college. She was a senior who just wanted it over with. But somehow I decided to add her in Facebook, and somehow she decided to add me back. Oh, right, we worked together at one point. And I remember seeing one of her posts a few weeks back, about having written this and that for a magazine, and I get the air that she's proud of her work, which is natural, except that she stated it in a very Albie-like way. Not her exact words: people just don't get it, and it's frustrating.

Well, I'm sorry if I'm a Muggle and you're a Mudblood. Then again, you need to be particularly exposed to high society to be able to write about design. I just can't imagine someone who prefers gin over wine to be hobnobbing with fashion designers and whatnot. But that's not really the point. Since seeing that Facebook post, I got curious. Yes, everybody can write. And yes, I'm insecure. And here's a chance for me to see what the whole deal is about. I must note, I'm not approaching this with animosity or anything. I guess people just get luckier sometimes - anyway, the clincher was when I started reading. My eyes opened wide, and my jaw almost dropped.

She started her article with the word "taciturn". I don't know what that means.

When I was in high school, I discovered that I tend to take a while to find the right words to describe things. Say, "angry" may work for most of us, but not for me - sure, I'm angry, but it's more frustrated with a hint of confused. What's the right word for that? There's no telling. I try to find the right word but I don't go hunting for it in the dictionary. It doesn't help that it's organized alphabetically by word rather than by definition. (Which would've been a pain in the ass.) And, yes, there's the fact that I don't really use that word. Taciturn. That's only the second time I've written that word in my entire life.

And that comes from the person who occasionally uses the word "confuddlement". My browser may slap a red underline on that word, but it exists. "A state of extreme confusion." Apt, right? Things leave me confuddled sometimes. (There goes another red underline.) That, and it sounds so confusingly awkward it makes Marshall McLuhan proud. I remember Jackie tweeting me back about seeing me use that word. "So I had to search for it in the dictionary!" she said. I felt proud at one point, and then I thought, "is there really such a word, or did I just make it up?"

Sure, we use words we pick up. I must've seen "confuddlement" somewhere and figured out what it meant immediately. Context clues, according to our reading lessons. I have encountered "taciturn" a few times but I just never had those context clues. I look at the dictionary and it gives me a definition: temperamentally untalkative. Ah, so that's what it means. I actually have a different word for that, a word that I never see used in the few fiction books I've read. I call that a snob. Or, when I'm angry, a bitch.

And your responses...

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