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."