Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Lust in translation

I was watching television with my husband, Omar, the other night, when one of those odd local advertisements came on. These are usually low budget commercials in which someone is either dressed up in a costume or an ill fitting suit and shouts at you to come into their store. In this particular one, an oddly dressed woman(she was wearing a lot of scarves?) was talking about taking some of "daddy's hard earned"(by way of stealing his wallet) and going on a shopping spree in this dismal looking discount store. My husband turned to me, shook his head, and said"I used to live in Paris".

It is true, my husband is a man of the world. He is originally from Algeria, and has lived in Paris, London,the south of France, and Budapest.(just to name a few). He speaks three languages fluently, and at least a little of many more. How did he wind up living with me in the middle of nowhere New England?

I originate from N.Y. and though I have moved a lot, the most exotic place I have ever lived is Madison Wisconsin. I speak only English. (Not for lack of trying, but I am terrible at learning languages. I just can't seem to grasp them. )Although, I have made an effort to memorize a few words-just in case I am stranded in a foreign country without money. For instance, I can confidently ask for a job as a dishwasher in Paris. "plongeur? Euros? Moi?"

Often times, I will listen in on the phone when my husband speaks to his family in Algeria...Their English is better than mine...and I am embarrassed that I can't say more than a proper greeting to them in Arabic, a language I find fascinating, intense, and very mysterious. No matter what they happen to be talking about...it sounds exciting and very passionate...

(I use the word "Arabic" in the following to denote actual language)

Omar- "ARABIC!! arabic! arabic??"

his sister-"arabic? arabic!! arabic!!"

his brother-Arabic!, arabic!!! ARABIC!!!"


his sister-"Ahhh.."

his brother-"Ahhhh.."

Me-What?!! what happened?!! Is everything o.k.?!!!

Omar-"yeah, my family says hi"

Me-"That's it?...all that just to say hi?"


It frustrates me sometimes- my inability to grasp different languages. Even our children seem to be adept at picking them up. I guess it is something that I will just have to learn to accept about myself. It doesn't seem to bother anyone ,especially Omar. I asked him once (well probably many times) What it was that attracted him to me (besides my good looks, unparalleled intelligence and self effacing demeanor)I haven't traveled the world, I can't speak any other languages...what is "it"? He said "your funny,..you make me laugh". I make him laugh?...ahhh..It works for me.

A few weeks ago, Oprah aired a repeat of her "Warrior Mothers" show.( starring Jenny McCarthy) In this particular episode, Jenny claims that autism is the cause of divorce in 90% of marriages. Not surprisingly, like her many other claims (she cured her sons autism, vaccines are the cause of autism) there is absolutely no evidence to back this up. Once again, with the help of Oprah, she is distorting and devaluing the lives of the many people who live with and around autism. It is a language of lies. A language, that for once, I am happy not to be fluent in.

We may live in the middle of nowhere New England, and we may have to live with strange local television commercials...but I look at my incredibly sexy husband, and our four wonderful children and I think..."ARABIC, ARABIC, ARABIC!!!" Which simply means, I am blessed.

1 comment:

denise said...

You know how much I hate Jenny Mc Nutty :)
But I remember reading that 90% statistic in some official book on autism YEARS ago-back when I was still married.
My own marriage crumbled after my second daughter was diagnosed. My ex loves the kids very much-but he couldn't keep himself together during the most stressful times, when they were young.He became an alchoholic, and he's mean when he's drunk.So I didn't let him drink at home, and if he tried to come home when he was drunk, I'd send him back out....eventually he "fell in love" with some slutty barfly and left-she dumped him 2 weeks later, ha! Then he tried to come back, and I wouldn't have him-but he did sober himself up after that[He's completely recovered now btw]
He watches them one day a week for me, and he's very good with them-but if one of the girls is having a 'bad' day, he's really shaken up by it when I get home.

There's also a very disturbing study that came out around 2001 that showed 80% of men leave their wives when their wives are diagnosed with a terminal illness. It was all over CNN for a week, and I remember watching it at the time and feeling slightly relived-my marriage had only been crappy for 2 years at that time, and I was sure we'd stay together forever.

hehe. I love him, and he loves me, and he's a good man-but ultimately, he's a bit of a whimp. Emotionally, men are the 'weaker' sex. How many women do you know who just "can't" visit older relatives in the hospital? But it's pretty common with men-I remember NONE of my uncles ever visiting anyone in the hospital when I was a kid-not even their own father [my grandpa] when he lost his mind to Alzheimers.
[Keep in mind, my great grandmother was one of nine children-I was lucky to have all of my 'great' aunties and uncles around when I was a kid> My childhood family was HUGE.But, most of them died while I was in my teens....and all of the hundreds of bedside visit memories I have feature ONLY women standing around]

I have been told many times over the years that I should just 'forgive' myself and put my kids into a home, because it isn't right to 'waste' my life to take care of them, and "sooner or later, you're going to have to let them go to a home anyways." Two Drs, a school official, a friend, and a former boyfriend have told me this-they were all men.

I'm just rambling now. I've tried to edit this, but I'm giving up :) Men are great. I love them, and I hope it doesn't sound like I'm bashing them.But I think most of them aren't as tough as us.

I'm glad you've got a husband who can stand strong right next to you rather than merely admire your own incredible awesomness :) My grandpa was like that. He married my grandma in the 50's-when she was a divorced woman with FIVE kids at home. In the fifties! Give's me hope that I'll meet someone someday who will be happy to live with me in my small nuthouse...