Friday, July 25, 2014

100 Words a Day 643, 23 Untranslatable Words From Other Languages 13/23

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The creaking of the gatarra’s joints matched that of the screen door. Her small pack of cats was gathered outside, waiting to be fed. They struck up a chorus as she opened the door, but did not enter the old house she lived in. She stepped onto the porch wearing a shapeless hat, old pajama pants, and a long sleeve shirt with holes in the elbows. The cats crowded around the food bowls and ate, oblivious to the old woman’s odor. She stepped back inside without noticing the neighborhood boys watching. They had long given up making fun of her.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

100 Words a Day 642, 23 Untranslatable Words From Other Languages 12/23

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The way through the funeral home was laden with wreathes.

“Guess he was connected,” I remarked to my wife.

“Shh,” she scolded, glancing around.

“What? Everybody knows.”

“That doesn’t mean you have to say it.”

I let the matter drop as we sat down.

Once everyone was seated, someone got up and began to speak.

“Times like this remind me of wabi-sabi. From the acorn comes the tree. The tree falls and turns to dirt, a home for new acorns. Tony understood this. He lived his life knowing it wouldn’t last, but conscious that that’s just the way things are.

Monday, July 21, 2014

100 Words a Day 641, 23 Untranslatable Words From Other Languages 11/23

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They sat in the tree, looking over the lake, and watching the sunset. The rhythmic lapping of the waves blended with the leaves, rustled by the soft breeze. Both inhaled deeply, filling their noses with the smell of the fresh water. Sighing, they relaxed further into each other’s arms and continued to watch the sunset in silence. After a moment, the sun finally set. It was a moment of aware. As darkness descended the two parted forever. Their lives marched on and when they reached a difficult road they would call to mind that supreme moment of unity and relaxation.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

100 Words a Day 640, 23 Untranslatable Words From Other Languages 10/23

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The teacher stopped her lecture midsentence. She swallowed a sigh.

“Yes, Paul?” she asked, desperately trying to hide her exasperation.

“What if it’s a list of a list? How does that affect the equation?”

Veronica saw the class roll their eyes collectively, and she wished she could do the same. Paul was a pochemuchka if there is ever was one. His incessant questions were the talk of the teachers’ lounge every year.

“Why don’t we save the enrichment questions for later, Paul?” Veronica said.

“Okay,” Paul replied, his smug and self-congratulating smile making several of the other students retch silently.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

100 Words a Day 639, 23 Untranslatable Words From Other Languages 9/23

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Joel stood up from the bar and faced the man in black who had been harassing him.

“Why don’t you sit back down before you get hurt,” the man said.

Joel put a finger on the man’s chest and calmly said: “It sounds like your mouth is writing checks that your ass can’t cash.”

“What are you going to do about it?”

“Well,” responded Joel, “you do have a regular backpfeifengesicht.”

“A what?” the man asked, leaning forward and trying to stare Joel down.

The only thing he stared down was Joel’s fist.

“Looked like you wanted a knuckle sandwich.”

100 Words a Day 638, 23 Untranslatable Words From Other Languages 8/23

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Rachel and Laura sat on the CTA bus as it bounced along Ashland avenue, the driver making no attempt to avoid the numerous potholes. They did not know each other and had no shared connection, apart from both being on the bus and both staring at the dirty floor. They looked up together, their eyes meeting, and a moment of mamihlapinatapei passed between them.

There was recognition there, that they were both awkward and hated talking to people. That recognition made each want to reach out to the other. Unfortunately, neither wanted to make the first move, which required talking.