Monday, February 1, 2010

Brain Twist

Today, sitting in my doctor's office, I was reading Russell's The Problems of Philosophy. My doctor is Chinese and the office is in Chinatown. The predominant language in the office is Mandarin. Now I study Mandarin, so occasionally I'll catch a phrase, word or familiar sound. Imagine reading about the nature of reality (in English) while being submerged in a sea of language that you only peripherally understand. I am just beginning to grasp that everything might only exist in our minds as sense data when they call the woman next to me. She is asleep so I lightly nudge her. She gets up but forgets her file. I pick it up and hand it to her saying" Ni de..." (meaning "Yours..."). She takes it and says "Xie xie ni" (thank you). I go back to reading about that damn table.

1 comment:

HemlockMan said...

"Xie xie" is one of the few Mandarin comments I can make. My niece is a former Chinese Olympian (fencing team) and so I've picked up a few words. In typical loutish American fashion, I also know how to say "Kiss my ass" in Mandarin.