You can’t say that

‘Have you read this?’ I asked, carefully sliding a book out of my flatmate’s bookshelf. ‘Can I borrow it?’ ‘I haven’t read it yet,’ she said. ‘But sure.’ I was surprised, because I don’t like to lend out books until I’ve read them myself, but wasn’t about to argue. ‘You know,’ she said. ‘There’s a word in Japanese that describes people who buy books, but don’t read them, yet keep on buying more.’ ‘That’s awesome,’ I said, trying to slink out of her room without her rescinding her book-loaning offer.

Screenshot 2014-11-19 11.24.01

I couldn’t pay much attention to her at the time (it is harder than one might think, trying to leave a bedroom whilst pretending you are not holding a large hard-backed book), but I’ve been thinking about that Japanese word ever since.

Here, therefore, are some words that don’t exist in English but ought to:

  1. The person who repeatedly buys near-identical versions of the same thing, and then wonders why they don’t have the perfect capsule wardrobe
  2. The feeling of overwhelming rage when hearing the words ‘perfect capsule wardrobe’.
  3. The surreptitious act of checking Tinder in public.
  4. The irresistible attraction of wires and cables (computer, TV, charging) to one another.
  5. The bleakness when faced with the impossibility of ever untangling those wires.
  6. The heart-stopping anxiety of hearing your alarm used as someone else’s ringtone.
  7. The feeling of bliss when you wake up, think you’re late, then realise it’s Saturday
  8. Which is second only to the happiness of watching a teacher wheel a TV into your classroom.
  9. The increasing antsiness of waiting for someone to meet you in a public place, where they might approach from any direction.
  10. Wanting to know if you’re going to be offered pudding, so you can manage your expectations accordingly, but not being able to find a polite way to ask your host.

1 Comment

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One response to “You can’t say that

  1. An Activist Abroad

    You are brilliant!

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