Several years ago, when I was riding around with a realtor looking at houses in her Le Mans or Buick or whatever car she drove, she asked me how I liked a house we just viewed. I said sincerely, "it was nice but unkempt". She started laughing deliriously like I had just delivered a good joke. "Unkempt?" she chortled, "you must mean unkept." She was giggling so loudly that I let it go but I was blushing peach-orange and felt as silly as my perceived joke. Even if I had wanted to let her know it was one of those misunderstood words, she wouldn't have understood. This was the same realtor who had pushed the calculator towards my husband and said, "you calculate the mortgage payment". Even I had previously misunderstood the word until the time my husband (then boyfriend) had gently corrected me. On a windy day at the beach on Cape Cod, I had told him that my hair looked unkept. He had corrected me kindly, unlike the realtor's crazy mirth. You must mean unkempt? he asked politely, "But you should know your hair looks great. Wind-whipped and sexy".
And then the other day, when I was listening to one of the Mumford and Sons' frequently played songs, they actually had the word unkempt in it. No way, I thought!! I have been vindicated!! I even had to post it to my Unrest facebook page. Unkempt, see!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If the Mumford and Sons put it in their lyrics, it is no longer a misunderstood word! I was hoping that my realtor had listened to this immensely popular song.
What other misunderstood words do you know? To my now husband's chagrin (not the boyfriend anymore), he used to think barbed wire was bob wire, although he'd be embarrassed I divulged that. Do you have any misunderstood words in your back pocket?
I have a misunderstood phrase: for all intents and purposes. I thought it was for all intensive purposes.
I haven't had a chance to write any new book reviews yet, but I have recently read two good novels, Where the Crawdads Sing and Tuscan Child; these books are awesome. Coming soon!
I am now spending a relaxing Sunday reading Mission Afghanistan, an Army Doctor's Memoir, by Elie Paul Cohen, translated from French by a fellow author (a wonderful author), Jessica Levine, whose books I have reviewed on this blog. Please check former posts for reviews of her wonderful novels!!
This one is actually a memoir about a Franco-British civilian emergency doctor who accepts an assignment in Afghanistan for the French Army (acting as a liaison) to clear his military record, which labeled him something of a "defiant psychopath", which was a persona he had purposely acted out when he was a young anti-militarist looking to avoid service. In fact, this forage into Afghanistan couldn't come at a better time for Elie as he had been contemplating temptation from a brazen but young and interesting student of his. His relationship with his smart and sexy, but older partner, had become tenuous but was still true and they literally hung onto each other at his deployment.
It is ironic when coincidence happens as you read. Just the other night I was reading a story about Lady Di and how there may have been a chance for her to have been saved if French emergency protocols were different, that perhaps if she wasn't attended to so long at the scene in the tunnel and if the speed of the ambulance was increased she may have arrived at the hospital sooner for surgery on her ruptured or torn pulmonary vein, and could possibly have survived. So sad to think of. Well, this memoir mentions the criticism piled on the French emergency services after her death. And intimates future changes to French health services.
I also highly recommend this read (so far); it is wonderfully written (I wonder if Jessica has structured it like one of her novels or is it Elie's writing and only her translation-strictly translation, or is there some partnership of the two of them on this translation and some of Jessica Levine's formulation? Fun facts to know). My review of this so far wildly interesting memoir is coming soon!