Anakana Schofield – Author of Bina, Martin John and Malarky

Mad Notion 362 and the mittens

I have taken affirmative steps toward another of my notions this morning the acquisition of a smattering of the Arabic language. The early signs are that it’s more promising a feat than the barmy attempt last week to read a cello concerto.

The class is none of this let’s start at the very beginning with the alphabet. It’s more of a turn on the pan and start boiling approach, so an hour into the class we were asking each other for our phone numbers and replying with very useful phrases like I’ll be calling you next year or la, la, la, get out of here, you must be joking I’m not giving you my number. Because of the turn on the pan approach we were also telling each other we were doctors. There’s none of this interrupt the class while 12 people ask for the specific name of their job — much simpler to just all claim to be doctors. Al doctoraah.

What an incredibly gender specific language it is! Different ways to say how are ya? if you’re talking to a man or woman. Infact different ways to say everything. The only mild relief came when I realised by virtue of being a female I had only to ask the questions appropriately to males and females and could relax about having to reply as a bloke. Until this dawned on me it was a very intimidating prospect.

 Handily the class takes place on a campus with a very acceptable large arts library. I spent a long time getting cosy with the French literary canon, then chanced upon Beckett’s theatrical notebooks in German, which also took a while because I had to see how long he could keep up that neat writing on that squared paper. It became slanted by Endgame. There was at least a whole play where it did not slip remotely to the right. Most impressed. I couldn’t stop recalling the hand cramp of youth.

Followed that with a nice uplifting injection of Flaubertian cynicism to emerge to the exit and discover quelle horreur my bold and stripy mittens, always admired by people under age 5, were gone. I had to revisit every stop along the French literary canon to see had I tucked them on the shelves. When you’ve lost your mittens among it, the French literary canon is even bigger than you thought and those shelves are like caverns. It looked likely the French canon had eaten my mittens and all joy of literary meanders threatened to evaporate until hark I spotted them next to a man playing a complicated looking video game, who looked a little startled as I was reunited with them beside his elbows and exclaimed loudly my undying love for them and waved them in victory at the library staff, which prompted outpouring of lost black leather glove last winter story from woman behind desk.

Leave a Reply