Sunday, June 30, 2013

. . . Trust

I've been asked why I do the "dot dot dot" so much in my writing ... the annoying ellipsis, which, I've been counseled, has no place in a written piece, unless you're leaving something out of a quoted sentence ("To be, or not to be ... the question").  Or, you have come to the end of a thought or idea.  Just trailing off ...
But for me, the ellipsis has always been a significant pause ... A way for the thought or idea I've just written to sink in, and be absorbed or appreciated.  It's also because, to be honest, I don't know punctuation so well.  Not as well as I should, in any case ... and back in the days before fingertip research, it was a hassle to find out the proper use of the ellipsis!  You'd actually have to go to a library, or crack open an old textbook ... or contact an old English Comp. teacher.
I'd planned, for the past twenty years or so, to reach out and contact Mrs. T ... who was lucky enough to have me in her 10th grade classrooms for English Lit. and Composition!  I always thought she'd be pleasantly surprised to receive an email from me out of the blue one day (all rife with punctuation mistakes, and ellipses), thanking her for the lessons she'd imparted and asking her, "How and when should I use these ... ?".
I never got around to sending that email though (nor typing it) ... and now it's too late.  I recently learned from a friend that Mrs. T passed away.
In Spanish, which of course is not my first language, my punctuation is also lacking.  Most often, my mistake will be to put the question mark right-side up at the beginning of an interrogative (?Como?) ... or otherwise misuse it entirely (¿Que rica!).
Señora Lulu, my high school Spanish teacher, used to lick chalk dust off her fingers (breath reeking of whiskey) ... She also kept a gun in her desk ...
One day, we were hanging out after class (moonwalking, and grinding to "Purple Rain"), and Lulu noticed that her gun was missing.  She'd kept me after class with her, ostensibly to tutor me on the proper use of ¿, and I ended up smashing a piñata.  Well this led to other things ... and soon she started licking chalk dust off my fingers!
Until she noticed that the gun was gone.  "¡Pepe!" she exclaimed (I loved it when she called me ¡Pepe! ... This was my name in her Spanish classroom).  "¿Tomaste mi arma??"
"?Que!?  No!  I didn't know you had an arma ..."
"Get out!" she hollered, pulling her sweater back down.  "¡Vete de aqui!"
"Yes, Señora!" I sputtered.  "Instantly!  Um, Señora ... ¿ha visto mis pantalones?"
I learned then, at a fairly young age, that even without pants, I do not particularly inspire trust.  That's my fate, I guess -- it's my face, perhaps -- and I can only do what I can.