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!!!"
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.