Words Over TIme

by gillis

Sometimes words perfectly capture feelings and ideas, like the German term schadenfreude. Nothing makes you feel better about the impulse to feel pleasure at someone else’s misery than knowing that others must feel it too if they have bothered to give it a name! See? Not so terrible to think this way after all, because those charming Germans have a word for this!

Sure, in a world where the word twerk exists, you could argue that we have too many words already, and you wouldn’t be wrong, but you must admit, there are plenty of things we cannot name adequately because no one has given them a word. Like the feeling you get when you are driving behind someone who is just doing the speed limit. You feel slightly annoyed, but you’re ok because hey, maybe it’s a teenager learning to drive. Or an elderly person making their way to the pharmacy. You’re ok with it really, until the driver behind you makes it clear to you that while you might be ok with this, they are important, and they, dear heart, have places to go and people to see. They pop out repeatedly on either side of you to see around you. While they continually remind you that they need to get around you, you take a deep breath and pray you don’t become the creamy filling in a little vehicle sandwich. This feeling needs a name. The idea that you’re just out there living your life, moving from point A to point B and suddenly you’re involved in some sort of pissing contest with strangers. Today it’s on the road, but tomorrow it could be at the grocery store or movie theater. It’s the kind of feeling that makes you wish you had glass shards sprouting out from your elbows and you could throw them around and inflict some minor damage to be detected later.

Or how about some words to help us through the pinteresting of life all around us?What word can name the feeling of mediocrity that settles into the bones (and dangerous layers of visceral fat!) over seeing how you could be living if only you had gotten it together already. It’s not inadequacy or jealousy exactly -because there’s a whole piece in there about missing the memo that this stuff was going to be on the test of life. It’s the dream about the exam where you didn’t study the right material and now it’s test day – only the test is your life and yours is somehow so much flatter than it should be. Where are your mason jars of artisanal things and why aren’t you listening to the right podcasts? You’re over there hanging onto the side of the pool watching the swimmers race by wondering when were you first supposed to be following podcasts anyway? And why didn’t anyone give you the study guide to these things? There should be words for all of this.

When did it all become so much? And when did your mind become inhabited by an old person? Everyone else has bullet journaled themselves into the next decade and you’re winding your analog clock and sharpening your #2 pencils. That’s really it, isn’t it? Less about the naming of things and more about the pace of things swirling around. Sometimes it makes sense to run alongside the train car and pull yourself up into it. Other times it feels better to watch and wave as the train barrels past, knowing that another one will come along eventually. And surely there will be a podcast about all of it soon enough.