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Idiomatic

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Mar. 16th, 2014 | 07:04 pm

A note for those using text-to-speech readers: this entry is formatted with dictionary definitions and phonetic pronunciations.



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Mamihlapinatapei /mah-ME-hla-PEEN-ah-ta-PAY/ noun Yagan (indigenous lang. of Tierra del Fuego): The wordless, yet meaningful look shared by two people, both of whom desire to initiate something, but each reluctant to be the one who starts.

I am in Northern California, because a guy who tipped me a lot in a strip club has bought my ticket; then felt too guilty to meet me. I am here to console myself with Steve, who turns out to also have a girlfriend, but that’s OK because “you can sleep in my roommate’s bed, he’s on tour.”

The roommate comes home in the night. Who’s been sleeping in my bed, indeed. We whisper our confusion, we are both fire-eaters, we both love The Crow. In the night, he raises himself on his elbows over me and says, “You have the nicest eyebrows I’ve ever seen.”

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Torschlusspanik /tor-SCHLOOS-PAN-eek/ noun German: The fear of diminishing opportunities as one ages; lit. ‘gate-closing panic.’

This is before Skype, before email, before texting, before unlimited minutes. We can move in together in Florida or we can break up. I am not ready. He is not ready. But we are not ready to lose each other. My lifetime of things and his two suitcases. I always take the bigger closet. We are the same size, I wear his clothes, sleep in his boxer briefs.

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Wabisabi /wah-bee-sah-bee/ noun Japanese: The beauty of things impermanent, imperfect and incomplete.

We teach class together, we perform together. We own one car. We are not separated even overnight for two years. I still manage to cheat. With people he knows. There are bruises on my body not from his hand, a scar on my elbow that is.

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Toska /TOH-skah/ noun Russian: A dull ache of the soul, a longing with nothing to long for.

I'm sorry I wrecked our truck
I'm sorry I owned all the credit cards
I'm sorry I corrected your directions while driving.

I’m sorry I made you feel small.

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Jayus /JAY-us/ adj Bahasa Indonesian: A joke so poorly told and unfunny that it provokes laughter.

I come home from Prague ready to be a wife again, ready to be married. He has cheated with a girl who looks like Liv Tyler. I find her naked modeling photos while snooping in email. I can never watch Lord of the Rings again.

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Saudade /sow-DAH-day/ noun Portugeuse: A feeling of longing for someone or something loved and lost.

I send him home from Montreal on Friday. On Monday, I drive from Montreal directly to my therapist’s office. I decide to leave him, then go home for a week, believing this decision will not be noticed. On Wednesday, I pack what I can in the middle of a fight and drive until I cross back into Canada, an international border, past the last city, too far gone to turn around. Long past midnight, I get a motel room with fluorescent lighting and grey industrial carpeting, which I deserve.

***

Mokita /MO-kih-tuh/ noun Kivila (indigenous lang. of Papua New Guinea): The truth everyone knows but nobody says. Equiv. ‘the elephant in the room.’

Divorce means failure. I don’t get divorced. For four more years we are ‘separated.’ Our things are still in the same house. I am rarely there. He experiences depression. He goes to grad school in Las Vegas. I have two more—three more—relationships, with Not Good Enough, If They’ll Cheat With You They’ll Cheat On You, and Bisexual Means Not Out To My Family So Just Do The Holidays OK?

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Wintercearig /WIN-ter-cher-ry/ adj Old English: A feeling of sadness like the cold of winter; lit. ‘winter-care’ or ‘winter-sorrow.’

I miss the man I ruined.

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Jung /yung/ noun Korean: A feeling stronger than love that can only be proved by having survived a huge argument with someone.

I want my ‘bisexual’ boyfriend to say he loves me, so I get divorced. I fly to Las Vegas and serve my husband with papers, then help him pack a moving truck to come home. We go to court, then out for Thai food. He tells me, “You paid the mortgage alone for four years, so when I can, I want to take my turn.” I tell him, “Change your OK Cupid picture, you’re way hotter than that.”

***

Wanktok /WAHN-tok/ pl. noun Tok Pisin (creole lang. of Papua New Guinea): People of a shared language and of your family, village or clan; lit. ‘one talk.’

On Facebook he posts a double selfie, his arms around his girlfriend, her arms around him. She has great eyebrows. When he calls in a panic, I tell him, “Your Valentine’s gifts are perfect.” I tell him “Yes, she loves you. That text means she loves you.”

My boyfriend is my height, I sleep in his shirt, borrow his sweater. My ex-husband tells me, “He’s a little insecure because he loves you. Just let it go, just tell him you love him.”

We are finally ready to be with each other.

We are finally ready to be with someone else.

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Naz /Nazh/ noun Urdu: The pride or assurance that rises from knowing you are loved; from knowing that no matter what you do, you will always be loved.







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The definition whipchick is saddest to leave out: Pilkunnussija (Finnish): a person who corrects trivial or meaningless things; literally, “comma-fucker.”



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Comments {105}

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Patty Cryan

(no subject)

from: p_m_cryan
date: Mar. 16th, 2014 11:17 pm (UTC)
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I miss the man I ruined.

I have one of those skeletons in my closet, too.

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Mar. 18th, 2014 12:41 am (UTC)
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Yeah. It's a tough one.

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Desiree

(no subject)

from: x_disturbed_x
date: Mar. 17th, 2014 12:18 am (UTC)
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I'm just really blown away by this. I wish I had something decent to say but it's all I can manage!

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Mar. 18th, 2014 12:41 am (UTC)
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Thank you very much!

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penpusher

(no subject)

from: penpusher
date: Mar. 17th, 2014 12:35 am (UTC)
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I love how people often say "If you look up (adjective) in the dictionary, there'll be a picture of me." But here, you actually put yourself in the damn dictionary! That was a brilliant reference of the topic.

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Mar. 18th, 2014 12:41 am (UTC)
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Thanks! There needs to be a word that means "fun but sad" because that's how it was to write.

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Your Face

(no subject)

from: kandigurl
date: Mar. 17th, 2014 12:36 am (UTC)
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Augh, I am SO GLAD you get to write this season. This was stunning. So many great words I can related to, obviously because they are universal, or they wouldn't be words. And you blended them in so nicely with a heartbreaking, touching story. <3

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Mar. 18th, 2014 12:42 am (UTC)
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Thank you - I really appreciate it, and I'm psyched to read you, too!

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Jenn

(no subject)

from: kickthehobbit
date: Mar. 17th, 2014 12:56 am (UTC)
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yeah, so, I cried.

this is fantastic.

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Mar. 18th, 2014 12:42 am (UTC)
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Thank you, and no punctuation seems right for the end of the thank you so I'll stop later in this sentence.

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Vice Captain of the Universe

(no subject)

from: sweeny_todd
date: Mar. 17th, 2014 01:23 am (UTC)
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Wonderful. I love the flow of the love story, and the way it is told through definition and events.

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Mar. 18th, 2014 12:43 am (UTC)
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Thank you!

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the unforgivable crime is soft hitting

(no subject)

from: blergeatkitty
date: Mar. 17th, 2014 01:43 am (UTC)
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I am not the type of person who leaves serious, earnest comments about the sheer beauty and emotional impact of a stranger's writing. But I had to do it for this. This hit me like a freight train. It's incredible.

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Mar. 18th, 2014 12:43 am (UTC)
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Thank you so much - that's a terrific compliment and I'm glad you liked it!

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(no subject)

from: faerie_spark
date: Mar. 17th, 2014 02:11 am (UTC)
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I have a total word-nerd crush on this, and on you! I love playing with words. Looks like learning idioms from other languages would be a great way to do this more!Brillliant!

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Mar. 18th, 2014 12:44 am (UTC)
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Thank you! It was so much fun to look up the words and see what kind of story they wanted to tell :) Yeah, there are some idioms you'd love - I found some great ones at a blog called Better Than English.

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Didn't want to be

(no subject)

from: anyonesghost
date: Mar. 17th, 2014 03:28 am (UTC)
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Fantastic. (And I'm somewhat agog; you're setting the bar high at Week 1.)

Also, pilkunnussija is my new favorite word.

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Mar. 18th, 2014 12:44 am (UTC)
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Wow, thanks :)

I love it, too!

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solopolist

(no subject)

from: ceelove
date: Mar. 17th, 2014 03:39 am (UTC)
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Damn, you're all kinds of inspirational. I want to play Two Minutes in the Closet with your writing style.

(If I were to flirt with you, I'd do so by mentioning my next stageplay, a retelling of the Pygmalion story, in which Pygmalion is a female tattoo artist and Galatea, the male client who comes to her successively to have his body made into art.)

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Mar. 18th, 2014 12:45 am (UTC)
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Thank you :)

That sounds like a wonderful play! The next one I have is about sexting; the last one was Postcards From Shakespeare and I actually based it on an Idol entry from last year.

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similiesslip

(no subject)

from: similiesslip
date: Mar. 17th, 2014 03:41 am (UTC)
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This makes me want to cry on so many levels, including because...you are happy.

I'm not sure that makes sense.

Thank you for sharing this entry.

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Mar. 18th, 2014 12:46 am (UTC)
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It makes total sense, and it makes me cry, too. I'm still waiting for the other shoe to drop.

You're welcome. I really hope that I get to see you write your happiness soon, too.

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Holly

(no subject)

from: minnesattva
date: Mar. 17th, 2014 08:58 am (UTC)
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Saudade is a word that has followed me through the worst times of my life. I don't even remember where or how I came across it, but I do remember having the idea that it had some connotation or overtones of "the thing that is missing might come back one day...but probably not" which just slayed me. Still does, sometimes.

Saudade and sehnsucht. Those are the untranslateable words I hold close to my heart.

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Mar. 18th, 2014 12:46 am (UTC)
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Oooooh, that's a good one, too. I wish we had more "large emotion" words in English, or more "complex emotion" words.

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One Phil to Rule Them All

(no subject)

from: dslartoo
date: Mar. 17th, 2014 12:25 pm (UTC)
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I am delighted to see your scribblings again. You have led a most interesting life, and though I'm sorry to read of your various heartbreaks, I have to wonder whether you would do a great deal differently if you had your life to live over again. You've always struck me as someone who prefers to look forward and not dwell on the past. As VNV Nation says, "one should strive to achieve, not sit in bitter regret."

Thanks for this. It was, as with just about everything you produce, beautifully written.

cheers,
Phil

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Mar. 18th, 2014 12:49 am (UTC)
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If I had my life to live over again, there are two things I would do differently:

1) I would start the reception room applauding for Chita Rivera when she walked in after her show.

2) I would hug my mother at the top of the aisle at my wedding.

Other than that, most of the negatives have been learning experiences, "tuition" payments, or things that had to happen so that I was ready for something else that was better. Lucky me :)

Thanks so much - I'm so pleased to be reading you again, too!

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lawchicky

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from: lawchicky
date: Mar. 17th, 2014 09:18 pm (UTC)
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hehehe!

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Mar. 18th, 2014 12:49 am (UTC)
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:)

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blahblahblah, whatever

(no subject)

from: kathrynrose
date: Mar. 17th, 2014 10:40 pm (UTC)
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I'm so glad you're my Pilkunnussija buddy. :)

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Mar. 18th, 2014 12:49 am (UTC)
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We need shirts...

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