Last week this all began. Thursday was the day of the absolutely mortifying conversation and subsequent change in behaviour. That was all the day that T and me talked. I did not yell or scream, he did not feel he needed to make excuses, we talked. And than we even sat down and had dinner together.
As T and me are eating and having even more conversations, I slowly become aware of the fact the every other word out of T’s mouth is like. Followed by um. Flashback to the day before when I was going to the back to do something and passed a young woman on her phone. Every second word in that 30 second snippet I overheard was like. Like this, like that.
Now I guarantee you that as Chichi is reading this, she is howling over her cup of Yarba chortling ‘oh Jay.’
The story behind the word like in our household:
I am a child of the 70’s and 80’s. Valley Girl idioms made their way as far north as Winnipeg, Manitoba. So like was a popular word. My mom hates it. My aunt who is an editor hates it. I now realize why.
In February 2016 I went and spent two weeks with my mom. Am pretty sure that those two weeks saved my life because when I came back home I had a game plan for how to move away from the toxicity I found myself in. Chichi and me walked a lot and talked. We always have. Or rather, I have always told her everything and she in return tries to not offer advice but listen and allow me to talk my way through it.
I imagine after about a week Chichi was exasperated by my continued use of the word like in my sentences. Finally she demanded of me if I knew how often I said the word like when I was speaking. I was taken aback. I never use the word like I countered. Really? Chichi challenged me to listen to what I was saying and to count how many times I used it.
Holy cow Batman!
It was horrible. I was using like as though it were fairy dust and I was sprinkling that shit everywhere.
Like is the lazy way of speaking, Chichi and my Aunt ringing in my head. You are in too much of a rush to speak and not to find the words that will help you express what you need to. (As a writer I understand however 2 years ago I was still bumbling around in the dark, lost and buried beneath my life and unhappiness.)
It took a lot of perseverance but I was able to do it. I stopped in the middle of sentences a lot for a while when the word like danced on my tongue. But I did it.
Now flash forward to my household and T’s receiving the exact same lecture that I did 2 years ago. I explained how it was considered to be a lazy way of speaking. That he needed to slow down and think about what he was saying. T looked at me and went okay mom. And as I type this I realize that I have not heard him use the word like at all.
Before though you raise your morning coffee/tea and salute me in this I do have a confession to make:
I have discovered another word that I overuse when I am writing text messages or am talking and that word is ‘Just.’
I just walked in the door.
I just got off the phone.
I just, I just, I just, must, need to find another word to describe the moment.