Probably around 7:30pm
While we watched the boat watching the sun, a phone call took place in the back of the car, between Ben and one of his friends. A few days have past since then and this transcription is a long way from verbatim but I had to try and capture it anyway. It summed up so much about what we were doing without meaning to. Besides, it might be the only conversation of its type that’s taken place around here. We heard only one side of it but that was enough. You can take it as a momentary view into the psyche of another person. Their life in microcosm.
“Blud… I’m in Scotland. Scotland! Nah, blud! Ireland!? Nah, it’s not like Ireland. There’s mountains everywhere. Everywhere! Everywhere you look there’s at least eight mountains. Blud, I’m at the top of the fucking country. The top. You can’t go further than us. Nah. Not like this. You literally can’t go further than us. We’re so far north we’re south again, you know what I mean? Yes! If we went any further we’d have to go south. Mate, you don’t understand. You don’t understand, blud. It took days to get here. Days! I don’t know when I’m gonna be back, G. Mate. Mate, yesterday we was in a cloud, blud! A cloud! Literally. An actual cloud. Fuck man. NO! Oh my God. In a cloud! Yeah, alright, mate. Yeah. I dunno exactly. Next week. Alright. Alright. Sweet. Have a good one, yeah? Bye. ”
Character isn’t just in what you say and do but also how you say and do it, the emphasis you give phrases or actions, your word choice and mannerisms, your reactions, both voluntary and involuntary, and then on top of all that, there is the way you might deploy any one of those things in one situation compared to another. This is what it looks like when our language isn’t dressed up, when the place we’re from isn’t pushed out of how we speak for the maintenance of good manners and optimised social interaction. All of this is revealing, all of it is in flux; the human character is a lot like the ripples of sand on a beach, which change with each high tide but which remain in their fundamentals from century to century. This little snippet of a conversation shared between friends, is as much an autopsy as any medical procedure, it says more than most Facebook profiles.
Your syntax should never be too pretty. It won’t be honest. The way you speak should always have a touch of home.