I like to socialize. I was in a small group of adults the other day, meeting for our common interest. There were about a dozen of us. I had my Woman’s Club until it folded last year, after roughly 85 years. I still meet with a couple of the women monthly, but I miss the larger group so I was happy to have this opportunity to meet new people.
We each introduced ourselves and talked briefly about why we were there. This was challenging. There were two men in the group who did not speak English.
This is a common situation around here. If you’re not bilingual, you’re either left out of the conversation or leaving someone out, if you’re the one who is speaking. It makes things take twice as long, because someone will tell a story or converse for awhile in one language. When they come to a stopping place, the story has to be retold.
We had two people who could translate. We each had a chance to speak, except one man. The stories were interesting so I focused on that, rather than the language barrier which frustrates the community here, on both sides.
There were two Mexican men, sitting together. One spoke with, with my husband translating. I think we all assumed they were together or from the same family and that one man was speaking for both. But eventually the second man said that he wanted to speak. Just the way he said it, got everyone’s attention.
He explained, he had worked all his life – as hard as he could. He was now, fifty years old, and his body was giving out. He had six kids, and then he shocked us when he told us that his wife had left him. She left him with the six kids!
Now if you know anything about the Mexican culture, these men do not cook. They certainly don’t cook when they’re out trying support a family of eight…so this was the first thing that came to me – how are you doing this?
It’s none of my business of course. I’m just telling you this story.
His voice cracked as he explained that he got a “government divorce” (lost in translation). He said that he and his wife were separated, but that he was Catholic so he still believed he was still married to her and that he would always would be.
You could see the agony on this man’s face and hear it in his voice. Pain flowed off him in waves. We all sat, rapt, as he finished speaking.
It was another man who translated. On the way home, my husband told me that the man got some of what he said, wrong. The story my husband told was even more compelling.
The man said that he regretted trying so hard to make money. He wished he’d have spent more time with his family. He said he’d come to better understand that he’d been entrusted to care for the souls of his children. He was now fully devoted to them and their well-being.
The next day, I started this thread in the forum, to discuss this – the pain of divorce. But it didn’t help me to set this aside. I thought about the man all day long.
I love the Internet. I work here! But it’s made people are so flippant. A digitized face, is not a human face. Especially when it’s photoshopped as most of them are. There’s really no comparison.
What happened to this man, and to his children is bonafide tragedy. His wife has suffered too, I’m sure. As I wrote in the forum, I highly doubt he’s innocent. But after meeting him, I have deeper reason to seek to socialize in real life.
I want to experience life, fully. Words could never convey what I experienced, because I went to this meeting and listened to this man talk about what had happened in his life and where he is today, at fifty.
Do you miss human contact? Or do you feel human emotion is pretty sloppy, and the Internet will do?