Friday, February 13, 2009

Some Witty Banter

Here's a great conversation from the book A Thousand Splendid Suns. This is what is going to get April to read it. The girl ,Laila, is about 9 and the boy, Tariq, is about 11 I think. They are young enough to be innocent, yet old enough to wonder about each other. Tariq had been gone for two weeks and it had been a really long two weeks for Laila to go without her best friend around. (pgs 131-133 I'm going to ... some of it so it's not too long and so you will go read the book!)

"All right, here's one," Laila said, shuffling. "What goes around the world but stays in a corner?"
..."A stamp," (Tariq) said.
..."You knew that one. Did you?"
"Absolutely not."
"You're a cheat."
"And you're envious."
"Of what?"

"My masculine smarts."
"Your masculine smarts? Really? Tell me, who always wins at chess?"
"I let you win." He laughed. They both knew that wasn't true.
"And who failed at math? Who do you come to for help with your math homework even though you're a grade ahead?"
"I'd be two grades ahead if math didn't bore me."

"I suppose geography bores you too."
"How did you know? Now, shut up. So are we going to the zoo or not?"
Laila smiled. "We're going."

"I missed you."

There was a pause. Then Tariq turned to her with a half-grinning, half-grimacing look of distaste. "What's the matter with you?"
..."I was trying to annoy you," she said.
He gave her a sidelong glance. "It worked."
But she thought his grimace softened. And she thought that maybe the sunburn on his cheeks deepened momentarily.

I just loved how the author showed the differences between boys and girls (men and women?) in such a simple light. Just the show of affection by saying that you miss someone can be interpreted in such a different way. Odd I think. But how many times do we pause when we are talking to the opposite sex thinking to ourselves, "can I say that to him?" It becomes different with close friends, but I think we may be very guarded in uncertain circumstances and probably with good cause. There were plenty of times when I worked at the hardware store that I thought male customers crossed a very clear line, especially when telling fairly racy jokes.

Then there was last night at softball. Our church has a co-ed league in which we are the only team that has any girls show up, so there are mostly men out there. I was playing first base, the ball was hit, our shortstop took a hard shot on the lower part of his body. We couldn't really see where (turns out it was the meaty part just above his knee). The guy that hit the ball asked me where he got hit. We were watching him wince in pain and trying to figure it out.
"I think he took it in the hand." he said.
"No, it looks like his elbow." I replied.
There was more wincing and then rubbing and limping so it clearly wasn't upper body.
"Maybe it was his knee," I thought out loud.
"I think it was his nads."
Did he just say that? I don't know him. Can he say that? This is church ball and we're talking about balls? Hmm. I bounce back with, "well, his wife won't be too happy."

I don't know. Maybe there are no lines. Maybe men and women aren't so different. Maybe we just think we're different and use that as an excuse not to understand each other. Really, I don't know. I do know that I just called Bill to check on how to spell "nads" (since blogger spellcheck doesn't claim it's a word) and he is fearing for his life now. I just love that man.


Crystal said...

I can imagine saying that to a friend but not to a stranger. I guess you made him feel comfortable. You do that to people. It's a talent I don't generally have.

April said...

I thouhgt you'd like to know that I did, in fact, read this post when it was first on display. Yes, yes, fascinating. You're brilliant. And, no, I would not have a problem saying 'nads' to a stranger. My problem would be saying just 'nads' and not 'testicles' or 'balls' or 'scrotum' or 'twig and berries,' or, or, or... I just can't help it. I actually catch myself from saying the phrase 'dick and fart jokes.' I know people would freak out by that. Whatcha' goin' do?