The Disappearing Meaning of Words

Sometimes, whether you like it or not, you learn by osmosis. Absorb, absorb, absorb. Like little sponges, we suck what we can from our surroundings.

I happened to figure out the mirroring method early in life. You know, one of those conversation / connecting techniques where you pretty much, well, mirror the other party? Adopt a bit of hand gesture, use their terms for specific items, repeat key words and all that jazz. It has becine almost second nature that I do it while watching TV. If I happen to watch some series back to back with some majorly distinct speech pattern, I would probably start using them with varying degree of success for few days after. It’s not a matter of connecting anymore as clearly I am not trying to connect with the characters in the series no matter how much I wish I could sometimes. Joan from Madmen? Ted from HIMYM? Yea. Team Ted Mosby here. I’d be fully aware that sometime I steal phrases or sentence structures from recently watched series or even people who I hung out in the past with.

The thing is, I am finding out more and more people are doing the same thing without even realizing it.

I started noticing a friend who suddenly began interjecting endearing terms in between her sentences, to anyone who’d listen. The usual suspects are: Babe, Hun, Luv, and the Indonesian equivalents such as Say, Sayang and Cinta.

I don’t know exactly when our relationship moved to that stage but I would’ve preferred a bit of notice before they start calling me with those names, thank you.

From experience, once someone got hooked on calling anyone by those sweet sugary callings, there’s little chance to stop cold turkey. Let’s face it, it feels good saying it and at times, hearing it.

My only pet peeve is that I still want those words to mean something!

I love words!

I respect them enough not to strip them off their meanings. ‘Love’ or ‘luv’ should only goes to someone you do love and show action of. ‘Sayang’, an endearing term likened to honey, means even more. It means caring. It means an expression that one really do think about the other in a regular basis and is willing to give the last bite of the cake to the other or at least put on an entertaining battle to win it, perhaps even mixed with a bit of pouting and harmless jests. You just don’t throw ‘Sayang’ or ‘Honey’ around cause they carry stories and memories and hopes with them. Those words carry weight that need to be transferred from one person to another. As they should. As all words should.

But something happened during the past few years. The people on the tv screen, radio and the hip young celebrities are throwing the words mindlessly. Sayang this, Hun that, cinta this, luv that. And next the shop keepers and people you meet just a second ago started jostling the words around. It’s shredding my heart. You could imagine what it was like to live in England where everyone greets you with ‘luv’. Though it’s a tad different. Everyone does it there. Meaning, the word’s been stripped from its meaning a long time ago before I ever set foot in the country. In the span of 18 months, I think I’ve been ‘luv’ed more than I have ever been in my life. Oh yeah. Bus drivers, shop keepers, roommates, the people who handed you your third fish and chips of the weeks. I just got used to it.

But I returned to my country and just watched everyone around me started butchering the words that used to get my butterfly fluttered glitter dusts inside my tummy.

My butterflies are now very confused.

They still sprinkle and sputter and stir whirlwinds of magic dusts whenever they hear those words. But they’re loosing its luster. Those glitters are tasting more like sawdusts than the fireworks that they used to.  Those words have started their slow and deadly march toward the legions of empty words, along with the likes of ‘meh’ and ‘eh’.

Scary world.

The world needs an intervention, guys. The world needs it now.

Before it’s too late… and we throw empty words just to feel good without really knowing why.


About inifeli

Sketch a lot, write a lot, read a lot. Live a lot.

Well, I'd say....

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