Friday, January 14, 2011

Humiliations Galore

God likes to keep me humble.

Over the years, I’ve enjoyed success in orchestra, in soccer, and in school. My violin teacher says one of my worst problems as a player is learning the notes too quickly because then I don’t take the time to play the notes in tune. Many things come easily to me.

But you really can’t be good at everything.

I’ve always wanted to learn to speak a foreign language fluently. I love to study linguistics and I actually enjoy the hard slog of learning vocabulary and grammar. But despite 6 ½ years of Japanese classes, I never became proficient. And my Spanish is rudimentary at best, my accent appalling.

It humbles me.

Don’t misunderstand me; I am very bad at a great many things. Science, for instance. Computers, for another. Buying jeans, playing baseball, and not quoting movies while others are watching them for the first time are all weaknesses of mine.

But quite frankly, I don’t care too much about being bad at any of those things. I know they’re valuable skills, but I’ve never wanted them enough to work for them. However, languages are something at which I want to excel.

As many nerd girls my age do, I identify with Hermione Granger, the muggle-born smarty-pants from the Harry Potter books. Rowling writes:

“Chess was the only thing Hermione ever lost at, something Harry and Ron thought was very good for her.”

It is good for me to be humbled, but it’s not enjoyable.

People lock these onto the bridge connecting Sevilla to Triana, the neighborhood in which I live. There wasn't always a bridge, so it used to be a big deal, this separation. Now, it's just a tradition and every year the government sends someone over with a pair of bolt-cutters and they get rid of them.

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