Adult Education

While I’ve fallen into a bit of an odd lull of not playing many video games lately, I have been doing other stuff in the evenings. Specifically, I’ve returned to my unsentimental self-education in two spheres. First of all, I’ve finally picked up my lovely Kala ukulele again and am drilling myself on the various scales. That’s been a good thing to return to, of course – music is the spice of life or something.

I’ve also started to try to learn Danish in a small way, picking gingerly through a Rosetta Stone introductory course to the language. That means that my evenings are spent going “plinka plinka” for a while, and then moving on to trying to pronounce words like “brød” (bread) and “springer” (jump).

While it’s a given that both these activities are “good” in some fundamental way, I think, it’s also true that it’s not necessarily enjoyable engaging in them. Man, it’s a lot of hard work to learn something new. It’s also an education in spending a lot of time being like a small child, except without the fearlessness. Many incompetent half hours have I spent mangling the already mangled sounding Danish language or misfingering simple ukulele chords. And yet, afterwards, while also feeling drained, I feel virtuous and happy about what’s been achieved. Which is generally just enough to make me come back to it the next day.

And I will say that learning Danish is surprisingly pleasant, too. Once I moved beyond my initial lack of desire to do it at all, I started kind of enjoying the sound of the words and the way that the pronunciation bears little or no resemblance to the written word. (“Brød” sounds a bit like “bruul” being said by someone being strangled, for instance.) There’s some small game in there, and a more fundamental pleasure in language itself and mastering simple things.

So, here’s to “continuing education” and life as a grown-ass man tentatively strumming a ukulele and furtively saying “brød i poser” over and over again.

17 March 2011
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