A to Z Challenge #12 — Letters

I’m not good at writing letters. I never know what to say, so I usually never write any by way of not committing myself to write any.

I used to write all the time, just not to anyone in particular. At boring functions that I was obligated to go to because of family (usually church) I would always take scratch paper and write on it and tiny tiny handwriting. Even if anyone wanted to try meet over my shoulder, which often happen, really, they wouldn’t of been able to without a magnifying glass.
But to be doubly sure, at some point in middle school I decoded J.R.R. Tolkien’s dwarvish runes from the book jacket of an old copy of The Hobbit. It was basically a translation of the title page in English. The forward of that addition also had some notes on combined letter symbols like TH, ST, EA, EE, and so on. I use this the way most teenage girls use diaries with little locks on them, only instead of needing a paperclip to pop the lock you needed time and an interest in letter puzzles.

I have a history of doing all sorts of translations when bored. I’ve never made up my own alphabet but whenever I find them I have a habit of wanting to sit down and figure them out, even when I can’t really sit down to do so. In the recently renovated Star Tours ride in Disneyland, all of the signs in English are doubled up with an “alien” language that looks like it was a straight simple switch. Things like exit signs or spaceport instructions had both these symbols and their translations underneath. The giant board showing arrivals, departures, and computer-generated scenes from various planetary destinations also had this lettering and their translations, but flashed the symbols before the regular alphabet.

This meant that I got around half of the letters just from the static signs that surround the line. I was there in spring, right after spring break when the park has reduced hours but is also that it’s emptiest. It was entirely possible to enjoy a ride multiple times a day because there was no 2 to 3 hour wait for any of them. So I went through Star Tours multiple times, noting all the letters I could find in a translation key I was writing on the back of a gift store receipt until I had exhausted all of my static sources. The big board was another source of information, but because it showed the samples before the familiar letters it was very hard to track what lined up with what. If I saw string of symbols and already knew the first symbol, or the second or the third, by the time the regular outfit that popped up I couldn’t remember what the corresponding symbols looked like anymore. I tried taking pictures, but even on my smart phone they kept coming out blurry and unhelpful.

Eventually I was so annoyed by the one or two letters that I still couldn’t catch that I asked two different ride operators. The first one didn’t even know what the fictional also that was supposed to be called. The second loaned me an official key, which he randomly happen to have, on the condition that I couldn’t take it and could only have it for a minute. A minute was all I needed to check over what I’ve already written down and copy the very little I did not already have.

Most of this was thoroughly pointless. I forget what the alphabet is called now, and I’m pretty sure I’ve lost the key I made and the copy I made it when I got home. But I’m kind of person who rides the Pirates of the Caribbean ride and looks for new angles to examine familiar parts of the ride from, so it was something new and interesting to keep me occupied I guess. I was there with my mom, and as much as I love my mother eventually we run out of things to talk about in line.