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Retired publishing executive ecstatic with the idea of spending most of his time on the coast of Maine

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Dinner Party

It was slightly worrisome, having to host a dinner starting just a couple of hours after returning from a month away. It wasn't the food; except for grilling the meat, Cindy had prepared most of the meal beforehand. It wasn't performance anxiety; this was summer casual, with friends. It was words. Would my mouth work properly? Could I still understand English? For most of 4 weeks, I had averaged 27 words out loud a day, most of them "Let's go," to the dog.

There were lots of other kinds of words last month: printed (novels, crosswords); air waves (Law and Order, GOOOOOOOOAL!); manufactured (Scrabulous, my own essays); telephony (the nightly call from home). But aside from neighborly greetings and canine exhortations, nothing.

Bravely, I did tongue exercises and practiced talking to drivers on I-95. To be presentable, I wiped the moose drool from my shoes. The guests came, and I think it went OK, that is, nobody laughed and they seemed to respond appropriately when I said something. The young people did talk awfully fast and I seemed to be extra tired at the end of the evening and almost of all yesterday was spent recovering, nose-in-book, but generally I think the ME to MA transition was linguistically successful. By the time the week here is up, I may be able to string as many as seven or eight words together at once, just in time to go back to talking to the dog.

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