Photo by Jon Tyson via Unsplash

I’m not a quitter. I’m proud of that, so it was a wrenching decision I made last week (la semana pasada) to quit my Intermediate Spanish class. I agonized about it for weeks, not only because I’m not a quitter but also for some more important (to me, anyway) reasons.

First, I would freeze every time I was called upon to speak in Spanish. When I managed to stumble through a few sentences, they were full of the simplest possible adjectives: bad, sad, good, great. I sounded like Donald Trump but with a pretty good accent.

Second, my memory isn’t that great anymore. The many irregular verbs and their conjugations that I reviewed so carefully didn’t seem to want to stick around. Somewhere along the way, I’ve forgotten how to memorize. It reminds me of the Billy Collins line from “Forgetfulness:”

Whatever it is you are struggling to remember,
it is not poised on the tip of your tongue or even lurking in some obscure corner of your spleen.
It has floated away down a dark mythological river
whose name begins with an L as far as you can recall

Third, it was both a shock and a relief to learn that I am at least 30 years older than everyone else in the class. My first reaction was “Whaaaat??” My second reaction was, “No wonder all these people have such good memories.”

So now I am back to listening to Coffee Break Spanish as I perform daily mundane tasks, happy in the knowledge that whatever I don’t remember I can replay. It makes me feel like I’m not a quitter.





About Alexis

Alexis Rankin Popik, author of Kiss Me Over the Garden Gate, is an award-winning short story writer whose work has appeared in The Berkshire Review and Potpourri Magazine. She has penned numerous articles about local history that have been published in Connecticut Explored and the University of Connecticut School of Law and The Hartford Seminary publications. A former union organizer, Popik traveled the country educating shipyard workers about health and safety and founded a labor-management health plan before turning to writing fiction full-time. She lives with her husband in New England.
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