One of the coolest gifts I received this Christmas were two books from a dear friend of mine. We met for breakfast to exchange presents, where I unwrapped The Little Black Book of Writers’ Wisdom, edited by Steven D. Price, and The Horologicon: A Day’s Jaunt Through the Lost Words of the English Language by Mark Forsyth. It was a great gift that I was very thankful for, and my friend said she hoped the second book would provide inspiration for my Weird Word Wednesdays.
Indeed, it has. Today is the first WWW post inspired by The Horologicon, and I even get to pick on myself while I do it – what a deal!
Today’s word is conge, pronounced kon-zhey. According to The Horologicon, this wonderful word means “a formal preparation to depart.” Dictionary.com defines it as “leave-taking; farewell.”
We’ve all been there. It’s time to leave your in-laws, that office party, the fundraising dinner, and let’s face it – some events are easier to leave than others.
On a more personal note, conge differs from family to family. My husband comes from a family who is more direct – when it’s time to go, there isn’t much hee-hawing around. Jackets get put on, goodbyes said, and they head for the car.
Not so much in my family. Early in our marriage, we stopped at my parents for a visit. When I thought it was time to go, I looked at hubby and said “well, we should get going.” Conge time!
You see, in my family, conge takes time. We say we’re going to go, but we really don’t mean it. Not yet, anyway.
We need to jaw a little longer, catch up on just one more thing. It’s like the weatherman announcing a storm watch – conditions are right for leaving, but we haven’t quite reached the critical mass needed to walk out the door.
This habit sometimes exasperated my man until he got used to it. Thankfully, he’s a patient guy, someone who goes with the flow.
Compared to my friend’s family, though, ours fairly dashes to the door. Jen’s father is known for lengthy departures, a really prolonged conge! At one gathering, he stood in the doorway for 45 minutes after announcing he was going to leave, yakking to beat the band!
After almost 20 years of this, I’m used to my husband’s family taking their leave with little fanfare. And hubby’s got a system, too – after the third time I announce “well, I think it’s time to go…” he knows he can put on his jacket.
Just think – conge won’t be a problem 30 years from now – it’ll just be the two of us, nowhere to go, nothing to do, just sittin’ and waitin’…