“Sometimes he thought of past love affairs as graffitti written across the story of his life. Most of it was easily wiped away with a rag and any kind of cleaning fluid. In contrast, there were a few scribbles that had been drawn with black permanent ink. These were tougher to remove. Sometimes no matter how much he rubbed and scrubbed, faint traces of them remained for a long time. Finally there was the graffitti that had been carved deep into his surface with a sharp knife and fierce determination. It was usually small because any carving *that* deep took time and real effort. But it was the most permanent. No way could he ever erase it unless layers of himself were sanded away and obviously that was impossible. The only thing to do was accept it as part of his being now, like a scar or a bad tattoo. As it aged in years to come, it became less visible but never disappeared.”— Jonathan Carroll (via browndresswithwhitedots)
Super, super interesting. A brief history on Southern accents and why we sound the way we do. Totally agree with the New Orleans accent. I’ve always maintained that the “Yat accent” (derived from local colloquialism where y’at) was a Brooklyn accent on quaaludes.
If you’re marginally interested in this sort of thing and have about five minutes to spare, check out this video demonstrating a variety of New Orleanian accents.
This is brilliant.
Oh I adore this. So true, New Orleans has such a variety of accents. That “new york” type is spot on for so many of my friends and then again the more cajun french is highly represented too.
After learning my flight was detained 4 hours,
I heard the announcement:
If anyone in the vicinity of gate 4-A understands any Arabic,
Please come to the gate immediately.
Well—one pauses these days. Gate 4-A was my own gate. I went there.
An older woman in full traditional Palestinian dress,
Just like my grandma wore, was crumpled to the floor, wailing loudly.
Help, said the flight service person. Talk to her. What is her
Problem? we told her the flight was going to be four hours late and she
I put my arm around her and spoke to her haltingly.
Shu dow-a, shu- biduck habibti, stani stani schway, min fadlick,
Sho bit se-wee?
The minute she heard any words she knew—however poorly used—
She stopped crying.
She thought our flight had been canceled entirely.
She needed to be in El Paso for some major medical treatment the
Following day. I said no, no, we’re fine, you’ll get there, just late,
Who is picking you up? Let’s call him and tell him.
We called her son and I spoke with him in English.
I told him I would stay with his mother till we got on the plane and
Would ride next to her—Southwest.
She talked to him. Then we called her other sons just for the fun of it.
Then we called my dad and he and she spoke for a while in Arabic and
Found out of course they had ten shared friends.
Then I thought just for the heck of it why not call some Palestinian
Poets I know and let them chat with her. This all took up about 2 hours.
She was laughing a lot by then. Telling about her life. Answering
She had pulled a sack of homemade mamool cookies—little powdered
Sugar crumbly mounds stuffed with dates and nuts—out of her bag—
And was offering them to all the women at the gate.
To my amazement, not a single woman declined one. It was like a
Sacrament. The traveler from Argentina, the traveler from California,
The lovely woman from Laredo—we were all covered with the same
Powdered sugar. And smiling. There are no better cookies.
And then the airline broke out the free beverages from huge coolers—
Non-alcoholic—and the two little girls for our flight, one African
American, one Mexican American—ran around serving us all apple juice
And lemonade and they were covered with powdered sugar too.
And I noticed my new best friend—by now we were holding hands—
Had a potted plant poking out of her bag, some medicinal thing,
With green furry leaves. Such an old country traveling tradition. Always
Carry a plant. Always stay rooted to somewhere.
And I looked around that gate of late and weary ones and thought,
This is the world I want to live in. The shared world.
Not a single person in this gate—once the crying of confusion stopped
—has seemed apprehensive about any other person.
They took the cookies. I wanted to hug all those other women too.
This can still happen anywhere.
Not everything is lost.
”—Naomi Shihab Nye (b. 1952), “Wandering Around an Albuquerque Airport Terminal.” I think this poem may be making the rounds, this week, but that’s as it should be. (via oliviacirce)
When I lose hope in the world, I remember this poem.