Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

“How’s That Working For You?”

I love watching language shift and segue like the waves at sea. One moment there will be a gust of adjectives (“cool” “hot!” “baaaadddd!” “fly”) and another there will be typhoon of localisms, like the Valley Gal phenomenon, and from time time time, apparently quiet times. If you are watching closely, however, you will see the waters twitch and a new word or phrase surface, create a few ripples, and then most of the time, fade away.

“How’s that working for you?” is a phrase that doesn’t mean what it seems to mean. Yes, it is a very neutral way of asking how a person is doing.

Underneath, however, it implies disbelief.

Language is so subtle. It’s one of the reasons I will never be fluent in French, or German, or Arabic – I can skim the surface, I can even dive beneath the surface, but there are depths that you have to be a native to plumb.

“How’s that working for you?” keeps the conversation going when an addict defends his addiction.

“How’s that working for you?” keeps the door open when your daughter defends an inappropriate relationship.

“How’s that working for you?” is the response to someone with big talk of big dreams who never gets organized enough to put the dreams into action, but wants credit, although nothing was accomplished.

“How’s that working for you?” is a compassionate response to someone who is lying to herself about an important issue and you don’t want to burst her balloon.

Most people ask the question when there are clear signs that it is NOT working. It returns the ball the the court of the person who needs to deal with the problem.

A person who is not willing to face the problem will respond “Great!” The appropriate response to “great” is “Glad to hear it!”

(“Glad to hear it!” used in this context means “I don’t believe a word of it.”)

If someone asks you “how’s that working for you?” they have sent you a signal that it’s time to re-examine what you’re doing.

May 23, 2007 Posted by | Communication, Community, Cross Cultural, ExPat Life, Language, Lies, Words | 4 Comments

Good Neighbors Blog

The Qatteri Cat knocked the lid off his cat-box at oh-dark-thirty this morning, but it was so beautiful out I decided to have a cup of coffee, get an early start and maybe take a snooze in the afternoon, when the heat kicks in and I drop out.

As I was visiting Little Diamond’s blog I noticed a blog in her blogroll that I wanted to check out. And WHOA! I’m glad I did.

The blog is Good Neighbors. It has fifteen authors – Lebanese, Palestinian and . . . Israeli. Maybe more, I don’t recognize all the flags. Totally amazing. These bloggers are educated, and highly literate. Even better, they have a noble goal. I urge to to visit them, especially if you are following the current situation in Lebanon.

Here is what they say about themselves on the About page:

The Good Neighbors Website
Building bridges for understanding and cross-cultural dialogue

This site is dedicated to increasing dialogue and understanding between Israelis, Palestinians, Jordanians, Lebanese, Egyptians, Saudis, Iranians, Iraqis, Libians, Sudanese, and Syrians on a cross-country level, as well as to increase understanding, respect and dialogue among the various strata of society within our individual countries.

The aims of the website are numerous and include:

1) discovering and fostering shared common values, interests and beliefs
2) fostering greater understanding for those views and values that are not shared
3) bringing to light “local” issues and experiences (e.g., those specific to a particular segment(s) of a particular country)
4) engaging in constructive dialogue on conflictual issues
5) providing a window into one’s culture and into the daily life and concerns within one’s country
6) educating one another and the audience about the primary social, political, and historical issues in one’s country or one’s group within one’s country.

We all of us participating here are committed to being open-minded, tolerant and respectful of others’ views and opinions even when those opinions and beliefs run counter to our own. We are committed to trying to be part of the solutions to the many problematic issues in our region. We are committed to building a better future. And we are full of hope.

May 23, 2007 Posted by | Blogging, Communication, Community, Counter-terrorism, ExPat Life, Living Conditions, Middle East, Political Issues, Social Issues, Uncategorized | Leave a comment