Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Saleh

Seen on the Purple Line to Linden at about 8:40 a.m.

“You’ve worked hard to master the English language, and it’s paying off,” said the voice in his ears. “In the fifth and final level of ‘American English for Arabic Speakers,’ you’ll learn business and legal terms that will ensure your success in virtually any career.” The voice was male, calm, vaguely cheerful, with a slight accent. Very slight. It was an ideal voice.

Saleh tugged his headphones off. He didn’t want to learn business and legal terms. He wanted to speak like a normal person. Sure, he could speak English well enough to order a bagel or ask for directions, but that didn’t make him normal. He wanted to speak casually. He wanted to use colloquialisms and slang. He wanted to be funny. Back in Al Ain everyone thought he was funny. Here Saleh was just some weird foreigner. And a potentially dangerous foreigner at that. He hadn’t experienced any outrageously overt racism, but people often shied away from him. He looked like someone American soldiers had been sent to kill, not someone you wanted to grab dinner with.

Saleh wanted to grab dinner with people. And drinks. Nothing about his religion said he couldn’t go inside a bar. He wanted to flirt with women, bold women with big smiles. He wanted to make them laugh. Somehow he didn’t think he’d win them over with business and legal terms. Saleh wanted confidence. Confidence in his English. Where was the lesson plan for that?

Happy 2013! I celebrated in style at a Lisa Frank-themed party. It was delightful.

Can I just quickly outline my first dream of 2013? Because it is completely ridiculous. I dreamed it when I finally fell asleep at 4:30 a.m. on January 1st. I was not a participant in this dream; I was sort of watching it like a movie. In this dream, I basically ignored that the book Hannibal ever existed and wrote a whole new sequel to The Silence of the Lambs, in which a nurse (I think she was a nurse) helped to free Hannibal Lecter from prison and then went on the run with him, all the while attempting to wean him off human flesh. I am not even joking. Wean him off human flesh. As though cannibalism is just some sort of addiction. This was my dream. I have not read these books or watched any of the movies recently. My question for you: WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME? How is my brain that messed up? Seriously. 

Oh well. Just because it's a new year doesn't mean I get any less weird, I suppose. 

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