How to Learn a Language

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Three people walk in to a London pub. The first is a transgender man named Toro. He holds his head high and smiles at the bartender.

“A vodka tonic, please.”

The second is Lara, a 20-something bohemian woman with big dreams and small feet. She orders a local rosemary beer and sits down next to Toro, the bells on her worn-out boat shoes dangling like a dog collar.

To complete the ensemble, a hairy, plump man slides on to the barstool next to Lara, the buttons on his plaid shirt popping out precariously. The bartender smiles and says “Hey, Phil ! What’ll it be ? The usual ?”

“You got it, Dave,” says Phil.

“I’ll have those out for you in just a couple minutes,” says Dave. A hazy-eyed philosophy masters’ student, Dave generally has just enough money for rent and groceries, but not enough to get a haircut. Which explains his floppy cowlick and subtle charm.

Lara turns to Toro and makes an animated remark in Japanese. Phil pulls out a notebook and begins writing down everything he wants to say in return. You see, Phil’s mother is Japanese, so he can understand the conversation. He just can’t respond. It’s frustrating to have these thoughts bottled up in his brain, like artichoke hearts waiting to be properly pickled. After furiously jotting down two pages of words and expressions, Phil shakes out his achy, calloused hand.

Dave sets all the drinks in front of the trio with a flourish. “Vodka tonic, 312, and a Scotch on the rocks for my buddy.” He grins and puts their check in a shotglass. “Whenever you’re ready.”

Toro whips out a Japanese dictionary and gives it to Lara. “Can you take care of this ? I have to check the news, and I don’t get reception in here for some reason,” he mutters.

“Sure,” laughs Lara. “News junkie.”

Toro slips out the front door while Lara scoots closer to Phil and explains the different verb tenses, slang phrases, and character construction. No doubt about it–Japanese is a totally different beast from English.

“Who would’ve thought this guy would get so good at Japanese ? I remember a few months ago he was slurring his words in English.” Dave smirks, relishing Phil’s low point like a feasted fox.

After pulling the door instead of pushing it, Toro walks back inside briskly, and the two-way exchange becomes even more profound. He and Lara chat about the newly established pipelines and the protesters that are adamantly against their construction. Half-listening, Phil sips his scotch pensively, chiming in at all the right times with accented but correct Japanese. As long as he listens to the radio, his comprehension skills keep improving with each passing day.

Dave looks on from the corner of the bar, fiddling with the ancient record player perched on a wide shelf above the countertop. “Jeez,” he thinks to himself. “Maybe I should start learning a new language. It would definitely help me with school if I learned German.” Without any hesitation, he discreetly pours himself a shot of gin and takes it down in one gulp. The pine-iness prickles his throat, inspiring him to take a chance on his freshly budding intellect. After all, it’s only a short trip to the great Germanic forests of yore from where they are in London.

After his shift, Dave hangs up his apron and walks down the block to the nearest bookstore. He buys a used copy of German 101 with its audiobook accompaniment and saunters over to the nearest park to check out the material. Apparently, eavesdropping and a shot of gin are enough to motivate even the laziest pubman to expand his horizons.

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3 thoughts on “How to Learn a Language

  1. Reblogged this on My Blog of seain' and commented:
    How to Learn a Language.

    somewhere the quatro- newly friends have lead a question of : how “two”, learn a language and……….

    “not learn it.”

    “huh???” dat exactly what phil said as he wastes his good port of scotch. and good-dave quick on the rebound of another with already towel on the spill and another glass ready! and toro and lara look puzzled as they both blurt out “who are u????” turning around lookin’ as quick action of reflexes would have of both.

    this cool nonchalant italian-french dude with a spanish ascent picturesques vibes smooches the succulent juices from a honey dew two where it, wanna taste sour. leaning back with a copita in hand and leg cross the knee every now and then a bounce.

    chuuke-pierre, just as smooth as any prestige-dignitary figure of long line of liege of royal knighthood within one’s family. with such a mask of grace. dat only in the movies does some carry themselves with such belvedere style qualities. says….. “a language frustrates before learn’d. ((( as the bartender nods his approval. last wipe of the spill. and already the third round of a one or two drinks has been made. ))) as it is most widely known of any new thang. two learn any new language even algebra a sophisticated basic mathematics.

    as his sentence ends before someone could say more.

    “even the language of music bears no genre of how two learn u don’t, u do!”

    and coca-suave lady dat was in the back. she was in the back listening the whole time very much enclosed in comforts of the more soft light of less light. a black Labradore layin’ at her feet.notices the tug as she get’s up and moves closer two the 5 people cheery in sum way shape or form as she comes closer. many problems and situations have be fell’d her life. ache and moans are the joys compare two what she has been thru. twice as much than a normal person. so she knows her fair share of….. “…..of u don’t learn something. u do. if u want it. u spend the most time not like a classroom and it’s all over. but like learning from what u spend most of your time doing. is two learn the language of anythang.” ” no music is bad music just a acquire taste of like and dislike. of

    “of like ratios!” chuuke-pierre instantly flirtin’ with this lady

    cause lara and the lady two blush

    so toro says, ” so it’s really a matter of… excuse me i did not catch your names again mrs.?????

    hope!

    but i go by my middle name it’s “brim”

    “hope brim sky” phil says, “are u thee hope, thee hope brim sky????” phil kinda aghast’d as lookin’ around as nobody knows who she is.

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