A beautiful, dark Sunday morning found me on my third and final cup of coffee, sitting comfortably in my den, listening to one in a series of choral presentations on Stingray Music’s opera channel. Sunday mornings, this channel plays hours of music that includes Gregorian chants among other religiously-inspired works.
Though I am a-religious, but not quite to the point of being zealous about it, I can still appreciate beauty wherever it may be found, and I do love listening to the Sunday morning chorale. Besides, even though I know they are singing songs in praise of their Lord, it is not as if they are singing words that might rankle my sensibilities in any way. They are singing in Latin throughout, and I have no working knowledge of Latin.
That line of thinking quickly led me to ponder why I didn’t have Latin in my busy brain. Alas, what it all comes down to yet again is sex! Yup! Sex!
Latin was offered in my high school and all the kids who knew that high school was not their educational stopping point filled those classes to the walls. Not me. For one thing, I thought that I’d go to grade twelve and skidaddle from the educational system. The other thing that kept me away from Latin was that I knew enough about it to know that its grammar was even more complicated, more demanding than English grammar, and I had hated learning English grammar (and I know it shows too).
Apparently, according to a learned friend of mine who used his blog to remark upon the grammatic details of the oft-used phrase carpe diem, “Carpe is the second-person singular present active imperative of carpo ‘pick or pluck’ used by Horace to mean ‘enjoy, seize, use, make use of”. Diem is the accusative case of the noun dies ‘day’. A more literal translation of ‘carpe diem’ would thus be ‘pluck the day [as it is ripe]’—that is, enjoy the moment. http://lgwilliamchapman.ca/be-careful-life-is-short/
All that is interesting to me now, but although I know that my lack of such knowledge leaves me breathing Bill’s detail-acquisition dust, if I had the choice to make again, I’m not entirely sure that I wouldn’t make the same choice.
I played football too. I even brought myself to the point where falling heavily on the ground induced no pain and rocking some other poor schlep with a bone-jarring tackle felt good. I knew that if I felt the pain of the collision in my every joint, he felt double the pain. Macho.
But it was macho-chango for me when I stopped to think that football practices kept me late after school every day. Every day I went to practice was a day when I couldn’t be walking my girlfriend to her home on the other side of town from where I lived. I came to the realization that rather than slamming my body hard into boys, I’d rather bump my body gently into girls. Football was over for me. I’ve never regretted that decision.
But what about Latin?
I thought that the study of Latin was such that I’d really have to apply myself to learn it, and I was in the happy position of being able to learn quickly and easily as long as the subject was either loosey-goosey or just a matter of learning some new terminology or if the subject was logical, like algebra or science, it could be simply reasoned out. As a result, my learning happened as a kind of side show to what I was mostly thinking about – girls.
Did I have the capacity to learn Latin at all? There is some evidence that I might have had what it takes. The two people I know who might possibly be able to converse in Latin (and yes, I do know that Latin is not a truly conversational language) are both happy fuss-pots. Fussier than I am! Still, my obsessive nature does show up in odd places and when potential girlfriends tour my home, I often see them reel back a bit as they come upon evidence of what they regard as fledgling OCD. So maybe I might have been able to learn Latin after all. I think that if things will go in a certain order easily and well, why not put them that way?
But I am not a full-fledged member of the OCDs and Anal-Retentive Association. No. I can and do tolerate messes for months at a time (see loveseat featured image). I have achieved a kind of balance, I think. I dwell in the spaces between the junk pile and the indexed filing system and I’m happy to dive into either extreme. I’m hoping that that represents balance.
Okay. Enough of this pap! The sky is becoming light with the sunrise and I have to go make myself appear human again.