word nerd

October 29, 2009 § 1 Comment

The other day, as I was reminiscing about the burger I found in my pocket, I thought about something else I would sometimes (more like all the time) keep in my bag and, when it would fit, in my coat pocket.

On one of those drunken nights around the East Village, Takafumi and I were roaming around, probably heading back to my place or stumbling away from some bar on Third Avenue.  I was feeling inside the pocket of my giant brown winter coat, looking for my keys, and as I yanked them out, my little secret betrayed me.

It was an old pocket thesaurus with a worn purple paperback cover, edges frayed and torn.  The pages were a deep beige, tanner than my own skin, discolored from years and years of use.   I first found it in my basement about 5 years ago, used by someone once upon a time.  He or she had written in the margins and underlined a few words, and as the thesaurus slowly became my own, I, too, would highlight especially good synonyms here and there.

For “show,” I like “illustrate,” but of course, that doesn’t always fit.  In other cases, I would use “demonstrate” or “exhibit,” but those always seemed so clinical to me.  For “effusive,” I go with “gushing.”  For “possibility,” I’m tickled by “chance” and “promise.”  For “support,” there is no good synonym, and I’m still looking for the right word to highlight.

I don’t carry it around with me anymore, but I still find myself constantly paging through the new love of my life, The Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus, a compilation that any respectable writer would own (and also  the one thing I asked all my loved ones to buy me for Christmas; to my own dismay and mine alone, no one did.)

It was more than a year ago when the thesaurus fell out of my pocket.  It was like a slow motion dive to the pavement, and as I let out an exaggerated, “Noooo,” the secret was out.  Takafumi grabbed the little purple monster before I could conceal the truth, and he looked at me with this mischievous look, both startled and intrigued, ever so slightly mocking.  He poked fun at me, and I blushed at the revelation of my nerdy inclinations. But nevertheless, I believe, at that moment, as he discovered the maniacal highlighting of my favorite synonyms ever, he realized right then that he was in love with me.

I’m sure that was the moment he knew.  I’ll just continue believing that. In other words, I’ll assume, trust, fancy, or suppose that’s the way things happened.

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