Right Now Means Not Yet

587. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

Language is beautiful and never precise. I can only assume that when I use a word or phrase that you, as the hearer, interpret the meaning as I intended. And I’m convinced that is hardly ever the case; I say one thing and you hear another. We think a single word has a singular shared meaning; we may bob our heads in agreement; the best we can do is approximate.

I often hear the word, “love” used to mean the word, “need.” We toss about words like, “data” or “statistic” as if they were absolute and unassailable. Data is collected by and for humans so it is subject to interpretation; it was gathered with a point of view in mind. Say the word “turquoise” to me and my associations will be personal, precise, tactile, and loaded with sensual experiences that you can’t possibly intend. In the airport yesterday I heard someone say, “Turquoise is common.” And I thought, “Oh, how sad. Turquoise is the color of desire, it radiates against the red earth and tanned skin; it floods me with memories of Santa Fe.” There is no way I can reduce any color or stone to something common. Or, perhaps I misunderstood their use of the word, “common.” It’s possible.

Luckie-the-dive-master told me that, in Belize, when you say, “Right now,” you mean “not yet.” I laughed because Luckie has one of those smiles that leads you to think he is pulling your leg – and he often is – but this time he was telling me the truth. I listened to the guys on the dive boat say, “Right now!,” I heard people in the village say, “Right now!” and no one moved. It made me nervous because their “not yet” was my “right now” and I jumped to help every time. Luckie’s wife is Canadian; early in their relationship they got into a fight because she was helping him fix a motorbike; he’d say, “Right now” and she’s rev the motor. “No!” he screamed, “Right now!” and she’d rev the motor again. “No!” he screamed, “I said right now.” They were deep into the battle when they realized that they were using the same words for two diametrically opposed meanings.

I asked Luckie, “If ‘right now’ means ‘not yet’, what do Belizian’s say for ‘now?’” He looked at me with his grin of mischief and, as if I was an idiot, he said, “We say ‘now.’ I laughed and he shrugged his shoulders, saying, “Now means now, right now means not yet. It’s simple.”

Language is beautiful.

3 Responses

  1. WOWZA right now!!!!

  2. I am grateful that you have the GIFT of using language to share what’s in your brain…that you also have the gift of writing the words is a plus for me…thank-you David.

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