Boquete, Panama. Finca Luz. A sunny Sunday.
I love my dictionary. Seriously. I’ve had this copy of Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary since 1965. The gold lettering on the faded blue cover is completely obliterated by the desk side detritus of spilled drinks, potato chip grease, and the sheer dust of the ages. The spine vanished decades ago. The thin pages are yellowed. The print has grown so small I now need glasses to read it. This book has lived in North Carolina, Texas, Georgia, Arizona, Washington and now, Panama. I love this book.
When I was in high school, I would read this very same dictionary during boring classes. I remember the day I discovered the word mellifluous. Say it…mel-li-flu-ous. Just kind of rolls off the tongue like honey. I was in civics class with old Mrs. Coldren, being driven to distraction by the particularities of the North Carolina State Constitution. I mean…really…at age 15, who cares?? I got caught.
“What are you reading, young lady? What is that book in your lap?”
Smiling sweetly, I held up my lovely blue dictionary. “I’m looking up a word,” I explained.
“Oh.” Not much else she could say.
That day I went on to lyophobic, and to the thirteen distinct definitions and fifteen sub-definitions for shot. Who knew?
The word for today is procrastination. “To put off intentionally and reprehensibly the doing of something that should be done.” Ouch. Reprehensibly? That seems a bit harsh, but there it is in black and white on page 679 about mid-way down the first column.
I admit: there are dirty dishes in the sink from last night. The tomato plants should be sprayed for powdery mildew. The chickens need to have their water changed. The bougainvillea are dry as bones, the basil is going to seed, the bed isn’t made, and…honestly…I need a shower. Worst, there is a character in my nascent novel who is hanging on tenter hooks in Icabaru, Venezuela where he is fixing to get into seriously deep shit over some diamond smuggling and I haven’t the foggiest clue how it will come out, and here I sit eating tortilla chips, drinking a beer (in the middle of the afternoon, no less!!), and messing around with web pages and blog posts about everything from the Embera indigenous of Panama, botanical plants, recipes for pain reliever salve to…my dictionary.
Maybe reprehensible isn’t so harsh. Let me see. Reprehensible: “Worthy of or deserving reprehension.” Reprehension: “Reproof.”
Okay, I get it. It’s not good and I should get on with what needs to be done and quit procrastinating.
But wait. This is interesting. Reprehend, from the Middle English and Latin, to hold back, and the French, reprehendere (to grasp, see prehensile.).
How did we get from prehensile (as in a monkey’s tail) to a morally suspect postponement of tasks? I have no clue. Do you? Any linguists out there?
That’s it, then. I’ll start with the chickens’ water, progress to the bougainvillea and basil, wash the dishes, take a shower and THEN I will see about the poor bugger in Icabaru. I have a feeling it isn’t going to go well for him. The tomatoes will have to wait. Manana.
Manana. (spanish. lit. tomorrow. french, earlier, as in early tomorrow.). An indefinite time in the future….. And that’s it for today, from Boquete, Panama. Hasta manana.