I haven’t posted an encouraging quote for awhile but I crossed paths with this one via Brain Pickings a couple of days ago and it seems eminently appropriate for the times we’re living in. To say the zeitgeist has been getting me down is an understatement. I keep coming back to the conviction that community, connection, and love is the only thing that can save me – us – from chaos and despair.
I have been saying it to myself in much less poetic and profound ways than Tennessee Williams does here, though. This is a beautifully wrapped reminder of what it means to be human.
My mother’s grandmother spoke to her in Yiddish, and there were two expressions she used that my mother has in turn passed on to me:
Az will kommen der b’shert, es will sein ohne zwei worte.
[When the right one comes along, it will be without saying two words.]
Wenn der putz steht, der sechel legt.
[When the penis goes up, reason goes down.]
I’ve got overly romantic sensibilities, so I find the first saying ridiculously sweet even though I rationally know that subscribing to it is dangerous. If you’re waiting to be struck by lightning upon first viewing your b’shert, as it were, your prospects will be significantly reduced.
The latter turn of phrase makes me wish so much that I could have met my great-grandmother. It seems that she, like my mother, had a gift for saying highly inappropriate yet hilarious things to her progeny. I wonder what other awesome Yiddish wisdom (or Yiddish curses) she spouted that have since been lost to time.
Happy Valentine’s Day! My sincerest hope for you is that you spend today with the right one. And if s/he hasn’t come along yet, may you at the very least not be in the company of an unthinking dick.
[Painting by Marc Chagall, whose work is resplendent with both romance and Yiddishkeit.]
One of my favorite love stories:
From StoryCorps: “In January 2007, Rachel P. Salazar and Ruben P. Salazar were living 9,000 miles apart and completely unaware of each other’s existence. But when an email meant for Rachel accidentally went to Ruben, it wasn’t long before an ordinary mistake began to look like an extraordinary stroke of luck.”
And in the same vein… a beautiful clarion call about love in the age of Tinder (which includes a tale of learning a foreign language and moving abroad for love, so it’s totally relevant here).
Saw this list of French phrases that are “useful for romantic situations” on Pinterest today, pinned from this apropos Tumblr. I love how it starts out syrupy sweet but midway through the other side of love starts peeking through – the “Are you crazy?”s and the “Leave me alone!”s.
Funny because my biggest love / hate relationship at the moment seems to be with Duolingo. When I’m not forcing myself to do it, it’s the most breezy and satisfying thing ever, but when I’m just trying to get through it so I can move on to other things, I feel nothing but resentment. As though Duolingo is the cause of my angst instead of my own tendency towards OCD. Anyway, I was upstate with friends this past weekend and ruined my 53-day streak on Sunday, which made me really sad. Ah well, c’est la vie.