by Robyn Justo — The English language is confusing. Context is very important. I have no idea how folks with English as their second language understand any of it with homonyms and heteronyms.  How do we learn and remember the secrets of these mysterious sounds and symbols?  How would one know if the fare at the fair is fair?  Or if they should shed a tear if they got a tear in their shirt? 

We ought to commend anyone who tries to get it and give them a break or is it brake?  (Footnote:  I brake for aliens of all kinds, legal, illegal, and extraterrestrial which leads me to wonder how Webster will someday define the word trump, uncapitalized.)

Some things are spelled the same way and are subject to interpretation and not the secret rules.  Why is being lax a bad thing and then encouraged when done again and people will even pay to do it. RE-lax!

I think we have all looked at the license plate ahead of us, especially the personal ones, and tried to figure them out if they aren’t obvious. 

Case in point.  The other day as I was driving to the gym, I looked up and saw CNDOMAN.  I didn’t think I would have to buy a vowel but I did have the distinct feeling that context was important here.

If I was in the mindset of looking for real estate, and moving as much as I do I should be, CONDOman might be my first guess.

But if I happened to be in one of “those” moods (which happens rarely these days) I could interpret the plate as an advertisement for a very sexually responsible person.

Fast forward to the gym.  I went to the dressing (or undressing) room and there was a young gal, buck and butt naked, proudly putting on her makeup in front of a mirror as if she was in her bathroom at home. I don’t know.  Was I like that at that age, strutting my stuff for all to see and hopefully admire?  Nah.  I always had something on in the context of my Catholic upbringing.

So CONDOMan came to mind again as my suggestive surroundings started to confirm.
Then I got on the weight machines and on the other side of the divider and sight unseen thank God, there was a guy who sounded like he was in the middle of an intimate act.

This was not a case of the typical male grunts but something else entirely.  It wasn’t just me because another gal was looking at me with eyes wide in shock.

My feeling is that if it hurts that bad, why do it?  If it hurts that good, please do it at home. 
“I am over the moan,” I said, as I removed myself from the area and headed out, stopping at the front desk to mention that there was a guy downstairs who sounded like he was having sex with himself. 

“How exactly would that sound?”  the guy at the counter asked. 

There was no way I was going to do an impersonation.  Red-faced and speechless was I, the writer who almost always has a quick comeback. 

I was SO not on my game.  Stuttering and muttering I walked away in shame. 
What’s around us and in our little minds affects and alters our perceptions.  It all seems to add up sometimes and we’re pretty sure we see what we see and hear what we hear. 

I remember the time when I thought my male neighbor was killing his girlfriend but she was really enjoying herself, perhaps a bit too much at that time of night with thin apartment walls.  She was probably one of those people who put her makeup on naked in publicly (or pubicly) or maybe she was working out while lying down or it was merely theatrics and she was lying about how good it felt.  Just sayin’.

But it is all relative, these words, sounds, and spelling.  Even the words homonyms and heteronyms are suggestive, yes?  Maybe it’s me and I just need to relax.
It is no wonder why I perceived that cryptic plate to be what it was.  Yep, it must have been CONDOMan, the new Marvel Comics character, coming to a theater near you.

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