Metaphorically speaking…

Is that phrase overused enough for you? As a novelty for my 9 year old son, it’s another sign of his impending maturity and grasp of the intricate machinery of his native language. Metaphors are useful and definitely have their place in illustrating a point which may be otherwise hard to grasp by the listener. Their value is lost however, when the metaphor has no significance to the listener. You can’t tell someone who enjoys classical music as their passion, that someone rocked like the Scorpions in Gorky Park! Where’s the reference?

I constantly seek meaningful references in my own life. Having traveled so much of the world at such a young age, most of my references mean nothing to anyone in the current country I am residing in, or so it was for many years. Now, although I am in the same country, and indeed only slightly further North of my original position and in the same state, I find I am still constantly readjusting my vocabulary and reference points, or metaphors to reflect where I live. The amusement, along with sweet memorable moments, comes when I cross paths with someone who is from one of the places I lived and, I automatically fall into verbal rhythm with them. I “mispronounce” words subconsciously, I refer to shoes in some odd way, or put an emphasis on a different syllable, as is appropriate for the geographical location it is associated with, thereby linking myself to my fellow speaker and instilling a comfortable pace to the conversation. I find I even change the content of the emails I exchange and without knowing it, for the most part. All of a sudden, when I am writing a British friend, I will put the “u” back in colour, Saviour, etc. I am even laughing now as my American computer tells me by way of a wavy red underline, I just spelled both of those words incorrectly.

Our relationships are so often shaped by the intensity or lack thereof, between each other and our ability to identify with the other person. Bring up a town you’ve both visited and even the strangest of strangers have found common ground in discovering they both had the same bad experience. What are ice breakers for, if not to establish commonalities among friends who haven’t yet met? And originally, an ice breaker was a huge ship built to break up huge thick ice floes, and survive it to make the way accessible to other ships coming behind! Sound like any people you know? So, which are you? Are you the ice breaker, strong enough to break down barriers and establish meaningful relationships with friends you’ve yet to meet? Or are you the ice, rigid and unyielding, just waiting for the right person to break you apart? Metaphorically speaking, of course…

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One thought on “Metaphorically speaking…

  1. Luna says:

    I’m an ice breaker. I love meeting new people and asking the right questions until we hit on a connection we have. It doesn’t take much to find common ground. The building of a meaningful relationship beyond that can get tricky.

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