Monday, March 01, 2010

Tense? Who? Me?

I have been trawling again through Toujours Tingo, the second volume of Adam Jacot de Boinod's collection of delicious words from other languages to describe phenomena that we experience too, but for which we don't have an exact word. Almost every one is quotable, but the one that caught my eye was
qaquablaabnaqtuq, an Inuit word meaning "to be tense because of an impending unpleasantness".
Those of you who are aware of my present situation can understand why this word resonates with me. Try saying it several times - it grows on you and, if you are lucky, reduces the tension in your neck muscles.


prairie mary said...

Since I'm guessing that you might be facing a medical procedure, I will try to break the tension a bit by telling you about a tense situation of my own, a couple of decades ago. I was beginning a hospital chaplaincy, a formal ten week course which combined service to patients with scrutiny of one's own self that was meant to be quite thorough -- possibly determining whether one should go on with ministry.

So this was my first morning on the ward and we had been prepped to ask those facing surgery if they would like a prayer. It was impressed upon us that it was important not to just skip over the top with false assurances, but to take things very seriously. So I did.

I all but intoned, "Yea, though I walk through the Valley of Death. . ." and so on. The family who had gathered around the bed of the woman about to be wheeled into the operating room were much impressed. "I hadn't realized!" exclaimed the patient.

Trying to bring things back to ordinary chat, I inquired, "And what is this operation for, Mrs. X?"


I assured her she would have an easy recovery and got the hell out of there.

Prairie Mary

Old Scrote said...

The closest I can get to your experience is when I was working for a firm of consultants in Cambridge. I had to go into hospital for an operation. The Managing Director's secretary sent me a get-well card with a written note "Tell me where the hurtie is, and I will kiss it better". She obviously was unaware that the operation was a double inguinal hernia repair. Anyway, it was all good for a giggle later when I told her.