19 Degrees of Senselessness

This is actually my brother's garb for the annual no-pants subway ride in New York, but you get the idea.
My brother’s interpretation of 19°C

My fruit bowl is full. This morning at 8am, I stepped out of my apartment and was greeted by a cheerful, light-handed sun and the air was unambiguous and clear-hearted allowing me to bee-bop through it to the market on a fruit mission. When I returned, I looked at the weather forecast. 19 degrees. Being that I was raised on cornbread and fahrenheit, I considered the fact that the utterance “It is 19°C” has very little meaning for me. If I found myself in a closet angstfully trying to decide what to wear, and a cheerful ruddy somebody popped in and said, “It’s 19 degrees outside,” I might come out of the closet wearing snow boots and a tank top with a distressed expression on my face.

Seleskovitch’s théorie du sens, (or Sense Theory—I don’t know why everyone thinks it’s okay just to say stuff in French as if the whole world OF COURSE understands French—but I digress), contends that interpreting is contingent upon being able to parcel out units of meaning based on prior knowledge or experience. As such, I might have a bit of a difficult time interpreting our 19 degrees statement. Or, at the very least, determining how such information relates to the rest of a speaker’s line of reasoning.

Conclusion: maybe I should take up Celsius as a hobby.  I’ll start today: 19°C now equals that marvelously senseless Saturday in Ouro Fino when I, for a moment, let go of the words and began to experience meaning.

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3 thoughts on “19 Degrees of Senselessness

  1. Laura my dear- what an incredible mind. I mean who else could write about 19 degrees Celsius and make it interesting. keep those wonderful thoughts coming our way.. PA. so I think PA means Poppa awesome?

    Like

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