Thursday, September 2, 2010
On Intimacy and Master & Commander
I was talking to someone I've just met and, for a moment, I felt like I was talking to one of my dearest, longest friends. I was in the driver's seat and I decided to explore why I was feeling so tripped out by this realization until after I had exited the freeway. Maybe, it was the influence of a previous conversation I'd had earlier in the day with my best friend. Maybe it was just that I recognized something familiar in the speech patterns of the interlocutor. I'm betting on the latter.
For the linguistically minded, speech familiarity is a matter of intimacy. Hence, it cannot be taken lightly. I sure know better than to do so. Neglecting it is like neglecting a bad migraine. It won't just go away. Ok, at times it might but I'm not so keen on testing the odds.
So, there I was, surrounded by high peaks, the smell of the ocean, and the speech patterns of a relative stranger who speaks the way I tend to speak with my seasoned friends and close relationships. When the other party asks me if we know some of the same people, I answered with confidence and/or arrogance (I'm open to the possibility that it might have been the latter), "yeah, it's highly unlikely that we do. But I guess we might navigate towards those who speak the way we do and read what we do and watch what we do. Did you ever watch/like Master and Commander, by any chance?"
It was a surprise to me that the answer was 'no.' It's not every day that I experience that kind of affinity. Well, unless I'm speaking to my carefully selected friends and we've been having the same experiences either together or while engaged in separate togetherness.
Subsequently, I did what I tend to do best. I waxed philosophical on the merits of Master and Commander and how it captures and then deconstructs masculinity better than anything I can think of. And I'm still a bit tripped out by the fact that I seemed to have so much in common with someone who, on the surface, is so different from me and comes from such a vastly different way of life. But then again I know better than not to acknowledge the fact that language is indeed one tricky rascal.