|ECCE! IV Ken and the Skateboarder|
I take the light rail to work every day as it is easier than driving downtown from South Central Denver. It is a relatively short ride of twenty minutes. I usually read my Latin assignments and try to review lessons during my morning and evening commute.
One evening, on the way home last fall, I was reading our Latin text, Ullman, Henderson and Henry, when a young man boarded and sat in the seat across from me. I looked up and noticed he had a skateboard draped across his legs, a funny-looking hat was on his head, and he had a somewhat surly expression. Being a veteran rider of the New York subway system when I lived in Brooklyn, I promptly ignored him. I did notice, however, that he kept looking my way. I kept thinking that this is a violation of train protocol, ie, do not disturb people.
When, suddenly, I hear: "Salve viri."
Astonished, I keep my wits and respond, "Salve, discipule."
I also was hoping he was a student.
He then responded, "Quid agitis Hodie?"
I remembered this from Wheelock as How are you today? So I responded,
"Ego sum sanus."
He quickly says, "Quid est nomen tuum?"
I say, "Nomen meum est Ken" and follow with, "Quid est nomen tuum?"
He says, "Nomen tuum non est Latina Lingua."
And I respond with "Nomen meum est de Britannica"
He replies with some expression, "Ecce! Nomen meum est Marcus et est nomen Latina!"
I then exclaim, "Lets switch to English!"
He replies, "Good idea."
It turned out that he was a college student and he had just finished a year of Latin. He said that he enjoyed the reading and cultural aspects of the class. We both agreed that Latin was very much a "living and vibrant language."
As he departed the train, he says, "Vale" and I respond "Vale".
After he left, the person sitting next to me said, "What language were you speaking?"
I said, "Latin" and he said "Oh."