Practical verbs: 4/12

A Polish philosopher would say the 21st century society was shaped by the convenience of travelling everywhere, to the point where human relationships started to be a constant impermanence and transformation of ideals, each individual with a liquid self, merging with others and dissolving into new directions. At the same time, some of our concerns are how much money young people are making in comparison to the past decades, and studies indicate a tendency to staying more grounded to where we are, despite the possibilities of an ever expanding online world, which offers a lot but definitely not the same to everyone.

When we think about what we expect and what can we achieve, it’s important to remember why we do what we do and who’s with us along the way. Our plans don’t always turn to action, because one way or another, they involve more people. To illustrate, you might have heard stuff like this:

“I stayed up to talk to you”

I’d love to hear something like that and not feel guilty later. Or immediately. Or during the whole conversation, which could last a number of hours. Or minutes, in case we don’t have much to talk about — which would be terrible. If you stay up to talk to someone, it’s 4am, everyone’s asleep but you’re there just to hear their voice, something’s going on with you two. Which is great, probably. Unless you need to stay at home to take care of your family and not take the weekend to go out when you finally have the chance: that makes it less fun. Well, ok. Taking care of people brings you joy. They appreciate that you do. You show some love, and you feel better. I have a friend who asks me to stay up with her when she’s lonely. I told her I used to sleep with the TV on cause I couldn’t relax if it was too quiet. Now it’s the music. But I don’t stay up anymore, I just wake up really late. Priorities.

“I’m not leaving until 10”

When I left my hometown to live in the city, so to speak, it was all about studying and working. I didn’t get to see a lot of new places, but eventually my friends and I met somewhere and I guess at night we showed what we were really like. Except me, I was shy and weird, so I didn’t show anything at all. One could say. I remember staying at work until late and coming back home with laundry to do. Passing by the supermarket, exhausted. Picking something I needed, going home, laying in bed and falling asleep in 20 minutes, the time it took to watch whatever people were talking about. Some of my friends always had somewhere to go instead. I just wasn’t that kind of person, I guess. I stayed home, I left to work. There’s a song that says you want someone not to go but they should. People get emotional with language. A kid will say this a lot: leave me alone. A young adult frustrated with the country will say they want to leave. Of course, we won’t leave the kid alone if we care, and the same goes for the country.

“Everybody’s coming to the party”

Remember parties? When I was younger (please stop reading if you think this is not appropriate), I got wasted a lot. I don’t know what it is about generation. People started smoking and not drinking. But what do I know? I drank. And now I wanna quit the other thing. But hey, I shouldn’t be talking about this. When it comes to making plans, I’m more often the guy who shows up to improvise. But at least I show up. Never got a call asking me to come home cause there was pizza or something. I’d probably grab something to eat on the way. Unless there was pizza. But constantly coming and going, always on the move: that used to be how I lived until I had to stay in one place. Not a lot of parties. I guess I’m introverted.

“I wanna go to the US!”

I actually have friends in Florida, Tennessee, Arkansas, Ohio and Texas. If you ask me how I met them and how close we are, I’m gonna take a while. But they’re part of my life, and I think I can say this cause today we don’t exactly meet anyone new, we talk to new people, but it doesn’t mean anything. I don’t think we can’t make friends online anymore. And yes, it was online. I didn’t go on a trip, I didn’t move out to study or anything like that, but I feel like we know stuff about each other that makes us really close. I just don’t know where we’d go if we actually met. Maybe they wouldn’t share their home with me. So we’d go around the city. Which would be great, but I’d probably feel lost. I think it’s part of the deal. I wanna see the US cause I learned so much from the people I met. But I don’t wanna go there to feel uninvited, unwelcome. I just wanna spend time with people I like, and that’s what I think about, more than being in a different part of the continent.

“Give me some time to think about it”

Suppose you got a job promotion. You did some great, consistent work at this small branch of a company, and now they want you to take on a new challenge being responsible for staff training and oversight of two different branches. You thought the news was great, they were interested in expanding your internal role, you’d be able to learn as you went on and identify problems where people didn’t see them, but also establish good policies for what should be maintained so performances could keep all the way up. Side issue: you also thought you could move to a new rent, and so you told your partner. Turns out these kinds of decisions are only made when there’s two people who agree it’s the best course of action, and in fact it might be a greater number considering all the factors. Give it time. Don’t rush things. It’s not baby steps, just, you know, steps. We have two feet. When we walk, they alternate.

“Can you get an Uber to take me home?”

Date night. Cool guy. Good talk. Rainy day, weird feeling, unexpected call from your family. You gotta go back. Maybe the date would go fine, but you’re worried if everyone’s okay or need anything. You wanna get home fast and preferably not soaking wet. You ask the gentleman to do you this small favor. That’s not a wild turn of events, but it’s a very hypothetical situation (excuse the language). Point being: relationships, even before they materialize, are a give and take agreement. That’s why people say consent is key, but in that case, the girl put her family first and the guy did call an Uber. She got home fine, her dad couldn’t be home and they were delivering a new TV. Good for her, cause she’s a gamer, not an NFL fan.

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These verbs illustrate situations you might find common in different areas of your life. Mobility or change, dynamic relationships. When you make plans, it’s good to learn about what you need first to make them work for you and avoid bad surprises. Instead of saying “it’s gonna be great”, you can make sure you contribute to make it great. And if something comes up, you work towards a solution. Sometimes, there’s people there for you, to help you get through. Other times, you have to manage on your own. But these days, support comes at very unexpected times, and we should be happy that connecting people made that possible.

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Confused? The idea of these blogs is to show people that learning a language is not only using new words, but establishing connections with foreign contexts, through people and media. Some of it is an exercise of your imagination, as we all try to guess what’s really on people’s minds when they use the internet to describe their lives and feelings. About the date: both hypothetical participants washed their hands, and there was glass separating them on the restaurant table, which was kind of weird.

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