Sunday, April 26, 2015

The Wrong End of the Stick

A typical example of miscommunication that often gets us into trouble:

I'm leaning on the kitchen counter to chat with Scott one evening after he's come home late from work. It'll soon be dark and he's rustling up some supper or filling a plate, and he says:

“I guess Mom’s on her way.”
An unoccupied farmyard a couple miles from our place.

It’s an unusual time for her to visit. I say, preparing to plug the kettle in:
“Oh! Any particular reason she’s coming over?”

Scott, sounding exasperated:
“She’s not coming here!”

“Didn't you just say — ?”

“She’s on her way to Saskatoon!”

She had to be in the city for a knee replacement the next morning. I knew this, of course, but hadn't been thinking about it at that moment. I figured she was coming here for a cup of tea.
We need to speak more clearly and listen more closely.
How easy it is to misunderstand each other. No one is to blame, yet mishearing is the cause of frequent irritation in our house.

Fortunately this misfire was noticed right when it happened and not a day later, when we'd be unable to pinpoint exactly how things got so mixed up and then one of us might accuse the other of "never listening when I talk." 


  1. I love the photos of abandoned buildings on the prairie. The topic you speak upon is (sigh) something I am thinking about far too often! I wonder if it will ever get easier.

    1. It's enlightening when we are both right there and see it immediately; those are learning moments because the ease of miscommunication is so obvious -- we can't help seeing, then, that it's not the other person's fault -- that the way one of us said something made sense, but so did the way the other person "took" it.

    2. Yes, truly, that is good. I try to remember that it is that way at times when I want to "conclude" that my guy has "always" been insensitive towards me and get down in the dumps about it. Possibly there are a few thousand times when I took his words differently than what he meant, and my "conclusions" are, sadly, wrong. Meaning, we could have been happier. But also, we can be happier in the future.

  2. It gets even worse when your hearing starts deteriorating, and you can't understand people in the room if the radio is on.

    1. We're not far from that, Lorna. I find it a real effort to easily hear conversation if radio or music is above a certain volume; not so much because of poor hearing (I don't think) as because of hearing too much. I used to be able to read, as well, with a radio or TV on; now that extra input wrecks my concentration.


Leave a message here or email me at, home of the snow and land of the wheat!