Sabah Kind Of Morning

I talked to an Arabic clerk at an inconvenience store very early this morning. He works at one that has a history of trouble. Of course, that’s true of many such stores when the sun has set. When I entered, he was busy mopping the floor. Don’t worry, it wasn’t blood he was cleaning. I assume. There wasn’t a chalk outline on the floor at least. (Although if I owned the place I’d put one there as a prank.)

He asked me if I was possibly Arabic. Surprisingly, we looked a lot alike.

We started discussing languages and he became very animated. He lit up because he could see how fascinating I found the conversation.

I don’t know many Arabic words but he was tickled that I already knew about some of the guttural sounds required to speak it fluently. I confessed that despite speaking Spanish, I still had trouble pronouncing the rolling “rr” letter in Spanish. He trilled it like a songbird! He took a moment to have me say “Good morning” in Arabic: “sabah alkhayr.” I like that they say “morning good,” which is odd for English speakers but normal for many other languages. I already knew that one, but my pronunciation sounded like a drunken sailor. Yes, I speak drunken sailor, all thanks to my dad Bobby Dean.

I don’t list it on my résumé though. For some reason, it doesn’t impress anyone; I find that odd, given that most managers seem to be alien and well-practiced at indistinct communication.

As I left, just for fun, I shouted “Au revoir!”

“Auf Widersehen,” he replied. We both laughed.

In another life, I know that I would speak ten languages. I wouldn’t speak any of them well and that’s okay. Enthusiasm is enough. Remember that if you’re on the journey to learn a new one. We all have beginner’s minds, even if we are 55.

Love, X
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