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jeudi 19 avril 2012

Q is for...


quick  (kwk)
adj. quick·erquick·est
1. Moving or functioning rapidly and energetically; speedy.
2. Learning, thinking, or understanding with speed and dexterity; bright: a quick mind.
a. Perceiving or responding with speed and sensitivity; keen.
b. Reacting immediately and sharply: a quick temper.
a. Occurring, achieved, or acquired in a relatively brief period of time: a quick rise through the ranks; a quick profit.
b. Done or occurring immediately: a quick inspection. See Synonyms at fast1.
5. Tending to react hastily: quick to find fault.
6. Archaic
a. Alive.
b. Pregnant.
1. Sensitive or raw exposed flesh, as under the fingernails.
2. The most personal and sensitive aspect of the emotions.
3. The living: the quick and the dead.
4. The vital core; the essence: got to the quick of the matter.
adv. quickerquickest
Quickly; promptly.

[Middle English, alive, lively, quick, from Old English cwicualive; see gwei- in Indo-European roots.]

quickly adv.
quickness n.
Usage Note: In speech quick is commonly used as an adverb in phrases such as Come quick. In formal writing, however, quickly is required.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

I'm no athlete, never have been. I hated sport at school because it was just one humiliation after another, one failure after another. I hated running marginally less than most of the rest, not because I was particularly quick (I wasn't), or particularly good at long distances (absolutely not), but just that my many athletic failings were less evident when I just had to run from one end of field to another.

However, I am quick. Not in the running kind of way, but in my way of thinking. I think quickly, I make connections quickly, I get things done quickly (I mean, the things I do, I do them quickly. There are many things that sit on my "To do" lists for weeks, or even months). And, although I do things quickly, I take a fair amount of pride in the fact that I generally do things pretty well, too.

I can type quickly, I can read quickly. I translate quickly, I talk quickly. I walk quickly, I'm efficient.

My dad is the same - for the things he does, I mean. He obviously doesn't translate at all. Or, rather, he was the same.

My dad turned 81 on 14 April, and, despite being in pretty good shape, all things considered, he really is an old man now. He forgets things, he dithers (he who never, never dithered before). He fumbles, he faffs. He's getting old, really old. And it scares me. When he dies, I'll be alone. Totally alone. My girls will grow up and leave, which is normal, I know, but it'll leave me even more alone than ever.

It's all very well being quick. Yes, it means that I can translate 7,000 words in a day and survive. Yes, I can read quickly, meaning I was able to read several set literary texts at university in no time at all. Yes, I can walk quickly, so that means I don't have to leave for work as early.

But one day, that quickness will go, it will be gone. And what will I have left then?

It seems interesting to me that the etymology of the word gives the original meaning as "alive". Once it's gone, once I'm no longer able to be quick, I guess that means I'll be dead.

1 commentaire:

Jadzia@Toddlerisms a dit…

I am the same way. Unfortunately nobody else in the family is, which is kind of frustrating.