Bookmark #502

How would you say that? It’s a common question you ask when you meet someone who speaks a different language or comes from a place absolutely unlike your own. And then, when you have the pronunciation down, you realise you meant the same thing after all. And this happens over and over again, regardless of how many people you meet and irrespective of where you meet them. That’s the human experience. That is what you cannot take away from us—the common folk, who have control over embarrassingly little, and who still try to make the world better. The people laugh the same way. They get drunk the same way. And everyone wants a rum and coke at some point, jet-lagged as they may be, even if they need a friend to tell the bartender they need one. There is no replacing this, no matter where you go in the world, and anyone who tells you otherwise can show themselves the exit. To the rest of us, I say salut and salud and cheers and prost and na zdrowie.

“How would you say that?” I ask now and then when I sit around people who are like me in more ways than it seems at first, and “how would you say that?” my new friend from a country far away mumbles before he finds the word for whatever he is trying to convey. There seems to be a long distance between all places that have ever existed, but if you are stubborn enough, the middle ground seems to not be so far away, either. All feelings exist in all places, and all places have some way to convey them. There is little else to say when everything has been said before, but when you’ve been thinking for far too long along the same lines, a change of pace is a good shuffle. It shakes you up; it tells you there is more to it all; that there always has been more to it all.

But all of it can be said, and most of it begins with the most common question of all: how would you say that?

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