Wet and moist and dry and arid

She runs a  computer and  gizmo repair business in  a Central Auckland Mall. When I visited with   my  lame duck cellphone  which didn’t  seem to want to re-charge, she diagnosed the problem  immediately.  Mould, or at least something resembling that  at the end of the  charger line.

Hmm” she  said, casting for the word.  “Wet…”

“Damp”  I said, thinking it would help.

The young Asian woman looked  up eagerly and asked: “Damp, what is damp?”

“Well it’s …it’s another way of saying  um…wet though not too wet” I  told her.

She beckoned me  behind the counter to her desk  and asked me to write down  damp.  So I did, telling her there  also were other  wettish words.

“You write them down?” she asked and  so I gave her a list explaining as I went  some were really really wet, others just, well, damp.

Wet, damp, moist, moisture, soggy, dripping I wrote

 She nodded  approvingly at the list of  words, reached into her pocket for  her Apple iphone and  photographed the page.

” I read these  (present tense) in  bed ” she said.

Then she sold  me a better  charger and  I was off with the kind of charge you get when you see  someone new to the country  wants so purposefully  to learn its language.

I  passed the  shop again  in mid-summer when it was anything but wet.  She waved and  said it was very hot.

“And dry” I  added.

Dry, she said,  lingering over the word.

Want to know  other words for  dry?  I asked more in mischief than anything else.  She  smiled,  found a pen for me and readied her iphone

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Paul Smith

Paul is a veteran journalist, non-fiction author and writing mentor. He has also served on boards ranging from TVNZ to UNESCO.