I used to be an English language teacher. This began back in 1993, I think, when I came to Brazil. It was not like a career plan, in keeping with every single thing have ever done to make a living. I had no options at the time. I always liked the comfort of no options. It gives me this totally false but utterly seductive idea that some kind of magic is at work. Back then a lot of my contemporaries were getting into adult life. I was terrified that I had missed the chance to do the same. At a time when some people I knew had houses, cars, and kids, I was sleeping on the sofa in a shithole town call Mogi das Cruzes, in São Paulo state. I have always been lucky, I know – despite the way I often talk about life – and my great luck back then was that there was no Internet and I was able to live my stupid failing life away from the radiating success of my peers. It was a great time. I was lost but had this idea that it was going to be all right.
It would be all right, too. But not in any way I could have known. Things worked out and I was OK. I still am and I often have to remind myself of that.
Teaching English was a joy and I did it for almost fourteen years. It gave me contact with some fine people and gave me time to enjoy the weird things about the English language I would otherwise not have considered.
My favorite world in English is ‘fast.’ It belongs to a strange group of words that mean the opposite of themselves. Fast cars. Shut fast. Fast asleep. And yes – to go hungry. But that’s not the opposite of anything.
Life is fast.