Friday, July 15, 2011

I didn't say that!

Every morning I receive a "Did you know today is..." commentary along with an inspirational quote from Langford Inc. I had to laugh at today's Did you know because I had just finished typing, in a Word document because my Internet access was wonky this morning, "Cyberspace is schizophrenic" and Internet access came back and I read my Did you know for today and... here it is...

Did you know...

... that today is Paranoid Schizophrenic Duck Day? In 1996, according to the comic strip, "Mother Goose and Grimm," after years of therapy, Daffy Duck finally changed his name to Paranoid Schizophrenic Duck. ;-)


Today's Inspirational Quote:

"Be like a duck. Calm on the surface, but always paddling like the dickens underneath."

-- Michael Caine

Who knew, ducks and cyberspace had so much in common! Maybe that's why the little bar that is normally clear kept displaying a yellow exclamation mark in front of it. Ducks and yellow just seem to go together -- or am I making it up?

Regardless of the connection between yellow and ducks and cyberspace and schizophrenia, the little icon that advises me of the strength of my Internet connection kept displaying that irritating yellow exclamation mark.

If only life came with a ‘connection adviser’ that displayed an exclamation mark when my connections and communications – to people and things and life and happenings – was unclear. Just imagine!

Miscommunication wouldn’t happen.

Misunderstandings would never take place.

Directions would never be misunderstood.

Ideas and thoughts would never be misinterpreted and feelings would never be hurt.

And if and when they happened to get hurt or I was misunderstood or misunderstood someone else' meaning, it would only be for a nano-second because the little yellow exclamation mark would appear like a hologram in front of my face immediately advising me that – I don’t understand! You’re not connecting. You've mis-interpreted... And everything would be clear again!

If only.

In reality, misunderstandings happen all the time. It's how I 'take them', or the story I create about them that makes the difference.

Take last night. I was to have gone to a BBQ with my mother but left my office feeling sick. Got home, napped for two hours and awoke, too late to go to the BBQ but with enough time to get to the airport to pick up my wonderful friend BA who was flying in from Vancouver. On the way, I picked up my daughter Liseanne, who had been out with friends from work.

When Lele (as we call her) got into the car she immediately undid the side zipper on her little yellow sundress.

"Whew!" she exclaimed. "I couldn't breathe. It just got too tight after I ate and had a beer!"

Problem was.... when she went to get out of the car she couldn't get the zipper done up -- no matter how hard we both tried. It could also have had to do with how hard we were laughing because no matter how hard we pulled the fabric together, the zipper was just not going to join the sides together.

Sitting at the airport 'Cellphone Waiting Area', waiting for BA to text to say she was curbside with her luggage, I laughingly text Lele's sister in Vancouver to say her sister was weird because she was sitting in the car with her dress undone, and unbeknownst to me, Lele text (from my phone) as an addendum to my original text... "She's fat."

Alexis, thinking I was the one typing, "She's fat." was incensed.

She promptly text back, "No she's not."

Now... I didn't know the texting was going on as BA had arrived curbside and I was driving, so Lele kept up the subterfuge and responded. "Yes she is."

Alexis, aghast that her mother could be so insensitive and inconsiderate furiously text back that I had to stop calling her sister fat! (Calling her fat would be a joke anyway as she is as slim as a willow)

And all the while, I was oblivious to the entire conversation! Until Lele fessed up that is and told her sister, when she later called because she had to set me straight, "It was me! I text that. Not mom."

Amidst the laughter, and the "You rotten child" comments, was the thought of how out of whack communication can be when we don't know what we're really saying is not what's being heard.

So often, we rise to the moment, and the comment, to defend something we don't realize doesn't need defending, or supporting, or denying, or justifying, or anything, other than a request for clarification.

I had read Alexis' first response which was, "She's not fat."

And not reading back through the texts to see Lele had added to my first text, I responded, "I know. But she is weird sometimes!"

And then, I was driving and not texting! But, the rotten child (and I say that laughingly and lovingly) was. And Alexis, thinking I was serious in calling her fat, became incensed.

While ultimately this was a playful interlude between a mother and two daughters, if that had been 'real', imagine how misinterpreted and hurtful everything could have been!

So often, we hear something and tell ourselves stories about what we've heard.

And, so often, we don't hear what's really being said because of the story we're telling ourselves about what was said.

We hear something, become incensed and stop to ask questions after our temperature's risen. Heated up, it takes time to cool off. Fogged up with indignation, it's hard to seek clarity.

We laughed about the conversation and in the end, the world righted itself and continued to spin through space, its orbital progression restored.

And eventually, Lele got out of her sundress and donned blue jeans and cowgirl shirt and all was well with the world as she breathed a sigh of relief in an outfit that gave her room to enjoy a delightful meal with people who love her, just the way she is.


Maureen said...

I like the name "Daffy Duck" so much more.

Funny texting story with well-made point.

Have a marvelous weekend.

Soul Dose said...

I love getting Did You Knows

Louise Gallagher said...

YOu too Maureen!

Louise Gallagher said...

Me too Soul Dose (love your name btw!)

Happy Weekend.

Jennifer Richardson said...

brilliant story....yes, bright
and shinyclear picture of the
gnarly stuff of life
and communication
and relationship!
Oh to remember this......
Such a good share;
thanks for taking me alongside
of this little journey
(and i'm not the least bit exhausted)
~a treasure, really.
I will treasure this.
Glad and grateful,

Anonymous said...

i think i understand ;-)

katdish said...

" Fogged up with indignation, it's hard to seek clarity." - I should put that on my refrigerator. You speak the truth.

And as an aside, it just now occurred to me that I have never seen a yellow duck in nature, and yet yellow is the color I always associate with ducks. Go figure.

S. Etole said...

isn't that just ducky? or is it daffy? ... point well made either way!

Ruth said...

This sort of thing happens so easily in blogs and emails too. Not quite the same as your funny story, but the ways I read between the lines. Phew.

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday! It's so hot here, yikes.