On Words

I have an internal dictionary which is somewhat at odds with the Oxford English.
It turns out for instance that I’ve been conflating the meanings of confound and conflate for approximately four years. I blame the sermon at a wedding I attended in Connecticut once. I wouldn’t know this if I didn’t have a new Kindle, which means whenever I’m out and about and it occurs to me to look up a word, there is a dictionary, weighing only several ounces, in my purse. Click a few buttons and there’s the definition. Gone are the days of scribbling a word on the back of a receipt or the margin of a book to intend to look up later.

But let’s consult the Internal Dictionary.

Doldrums: 1. n. when there’s no wind to move the boat. 2. n. some place around the equator where the weather is fickle, where there’s plenty of water but none to drink, and where shooting albatross is ill-advised. 3. January and February.

A quick look in the Kindle reveals that I’ve confounded doldrums with becalmed, but a quick google search reveals that half a dozen sailing articles have too, so maybe Oxford just needs to get with the program. Doldrums are a place near the equator with unruly weather, and also a state or period of stagnation or depression.

So, yes. January and February.

This is, maybe, a dumb way to apologize for not having tended the blog. Istanbul is still wonderful, and I still love it here, and I’m happy, but I have a case of the doldrums. I’ve had a post card in my purse to mail for two weeks, but the post office is all the way on the other side of the street from work, you see. And then past experience tells me that once I’ve made the monumental effort of crossing the street, I might have to wait in line behind two, maybe even three people. That seems dreadfully difficult, now, doesn’t it?

February- n. a state or period of feeling that crossing the street is too hard.

So forgive the rest period. I’ll be back with a vengeance in March.


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