Friday, April 16, 2010

I'm A Luftmensch: Notes On the Lighter Side

I learned a new word today. (If you’ve been reading this for very long you know how much I love words!) Anyway, the new word is luftmensch which is a Yiddish word meaning “an impractical contemplative person having no definite business or income.” The prefix luft comes from a Germanic root meaning “air” and mensch is a derivative of mentsh which means “human being.” "Human being" plus "air" gives it the connotation of someone who walks around with their head in the clouds.

I think the reason I like the word so much is because it describes me perfectly. I’m always off in another world meditating. (That sounds much better than “head in the clouds.”) But I often worry that people will think I’m snobbish because I get so deep in thought I don’t even realize people are around me. (Ask my children—they have lots of stories about this. [Or, heaven forbid, one of them may even leave a comment and tell on me!]) This also happens a lot at Church when I’m thinking so hard about something that was said that I walk down the hall between meetings and don’t say a word to anyone because I don’t see them pass me by. But I really do like people. (Maybe I ought to have the bishop announce that I'm a luftmensch so no one will take offense at my rudeness.)

But if that isn't enough embarrassment, the last part of the definition is equally applicable. I have no business or income from my luftmensching. I do share my thoughts for free often (like I do here on Good News!), but it is not a business and I have no income. Thank goodness I have a wonderful husband who loves supporting a luftmensch. Otherwise I’d be a homeless human being walking around with my head in the clouds.


Wendi said...

This is a fun post. It's nice when we can laugh at ourselves, instead of being hard on ourselves. :)

dani said...

Oh here is the analytic side of me coming out... the definition said 'impractical'... I picture someone who does not put their thinking to use. So whether or not you have 'income', you do teach. And as many can attest, you are a great teacher. But I see your point also, and I have some traits of a luftmensch also. My worst aspect being not wanting to be interrupted in my thinking, though I love people dearly also.

Annette said...

Been enjoying you thoughts for sometime now. This made me laugh because I do the same thing so often. Wanted you to know how much your words have lifted me. They might not make income, but they are eternally valuable.