Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Mirror Mirror... at the beach?!

One of the best worst things about having children is the way they so perfectly reflect - 10,000 mega watt light-up, pores-the-size-of-texas, vanity-style mirror reflect - all your  my horrible no good bad ways back at yo- err... me.
Earlier today, right before the last few inches of me joined the rest on the floor in a miserable bitching moaning puddle, I decided it might be a good idea to go to the beach and cool off.  The kids decided that too.  Yay!

I did not, however, feel like walking the 1/2 marathon distance over the sand dune to the over the bridge and awesome! beach.  I therefore elected to drive only a little further to the 30-steps-away-from-the-parking-space beach.  The non-awesome (used to be gross but got some TLC and is now a sniff above tolerable) beach.  Which is to say, the water is not crystal clear at 70 or even 7 feet deep.  And there's SEA GRASS.  Yuck.

Okay, you get my drift.  That beach isn't my BFF ... or BBF.

Snap, crackle, pop we get there and park.  It's not too crowded, but still I chose the spot that was furthest away from everyone else.  For the quiet.

But then, later on, some people showed up and set up right beside us.  With pizza, noise and, apparently, a whole K-12 in tow.  Ugh.  (She said so totally silently inside her head that even her ears didn't hear it.) 

Of course it wasn't long before I saw, from my shady vantage point, some fleeting social contact between my kids and the other kids happening in the water.  It is here and now that I will reveal to you the mirror image with which my daughter (and son! Separately!) presented to me.

First, she comes up to ask if I noticed the "confused look" on her face as one of the younger boys was speaking to her.  Not really, no.  She then explained that it was as a result of his ... (are you ready for this?)... POOR GRAMMAR!

I die.

But not so fast, mommy dearest.

Here comes my boy to tell me that one of the other boys was asking to borrow his goggles but he couldn't understand him because - get this - "he wasn't speaking English."

I re-die.  

WELL, I said.  How did you know what he was asking, if it wasn't in English? (I ask, confident that I had caught him in his hyperbole.)

"No.  His friend had to translate for him.  Because HE speaks ENGLISH."  And the kicker - "I think he's Jamaican."  I tell him, not without a trace of indignance, that no, he is NOT Jamaican.  I am wondering now, what does it even matter?  Anyway-

I dig myself up, die once more.

Oh for shame.  My grammar snobbery has come back like a rabid dog and bitten my upon my prissy little arse.  I swear on the dictionary that I've tried to broadcast that culturally modified English is still a valid, effective and important language.  Rather, languages - plural.

Clearly though, as I myself have only just begun to really appreciate this completely important and bona fide truth, it will take me some time to mix this - like bacos - into conversations about language and culture as they come up.

People do not have to speak standard english to be smart.  (Duh.)  English as a first language individuals - such as myself and that cliché American tourist yelling at the "foreign peoples" - don't really seem to get that.  We may have been a tad misled by our colonizers.  (That's not an understatement and I mean no offense.  Nor am I being in the least bit sarcastic. Yes I am.)

Thanks for showing me that glaring spot there kiddos.  It wasn't pretty, but at least I can work towards fixing that. 

Starting with Me.  And I don't have to worry.

The mirror will catch up.


alexa said...

That's hilarious! I remember one day when Zharia was about 5 and I corrected her and her father on their grammar, and Zharia, very politely and confidently said, "Mummy, dialect is for me and daddy, that's "our" language. When I talk to you in school, I talk "your" language." So take that!!

Latasha said...

I now totally get the sad reality that I could not hand pick just what traits of mine I wished to pass on to the kids. Instead they always, always, always end up with the stuff that make you "die" then "dig [yourself] up" and die all over again! LOL love that!
My kids talk "funny" according to their "dialect only" speaking classmates, so clearly this thing goes both ways.