I Don’t Know German

I was washing the car when the ghost of Johann Sebastian Bach came by to visit. It was awkward because he was wearing an elaborate, multi-layered outfit and I was afraid of getting him wet. It was tricky because he got really close to the car and the hose. Neither of these things had been invented while he was still alive and he was intrigued. So I had to stop washing the car for a moment.

The problem occurred when he asked me a question in German. I don’t know German. I’d like to have spoken it because I could have answered him and asked him some questions. This is one of the reasons I don’t travel much.

When it comes down to it, I don’t think I ever got over the frustration of not being able to learn or speak English until I was seven. I tried hard, but it came out as non-sense sounds. My parents got furious because they couldn’t invite people over. They spent thousands of dollars on tutors. The weird thing was I learned the alphabet when I was three. I said the letters clearly and accurately. I just couldn’t use them to form words.

Since we couldn’t have conversations, and to alleviate the tension, my parents bought a TV when I was seven. Within two months I learned to speak. I think it was because the TV had no expectations. It seemed happy to have my attention. In some ways I think of the TV as my mom and dad.

So, I shrugged my shoulders and smiled as Bach spoke. He got it, smiled and shrugged back. He went on his way. I went back to washing the car.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.