Sunday, July 31, 2011

Open To Interpretation

Two things:

1) While at the party I referred to yesterday (which was a home run for me, because I was surprised with the presence of two family members from afar), I noticed that one of the women on the in-law side of things was wearing a brace on her right foot and recalled she'd recently had surgery.
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Intending to kindly make light of her malaise and also find out how her foot was doing on the healing scale, I said, "You're wearing non-matching shoes ..." and was immediately cut off before I could make my inquiry.  The woman put her hands on her hips and said, "You had to go and say something!  Thanks a lot!" and walked away.

I didn't react at that point, save to think to myself, "What was that?!"  A short while later, the woman sat across from me at a communal table and I immediately said, "So, to finish what I was planning to ask earlier, how is your foot healing?"

"Oh!"  She looked startled and a little flustered and I saw realization dawn that my intention had been to express concern as to her well-being.  Then she graciously answered my question, pleased to have been asked.

2) Last night, while at a friend's house playing cards, I commented, as I nearly cut myself on a wayward finger nail, "I need to give myself a manicure ... And I need a hair cut."

To which one of my friends quickly replied, "Well, at least you have hair."

To which I replied bemusedly, "This is true."

I wasn't complaining or whining when I said, "I need a hair cut," I was simply stating that fact as it's been four months since my locks were last shorn and they are decidedly shaggy; not at all flattering.  But he interpreted it as a complaint/whine and responded from that context.

... ... ...

I'm not sure how I could have expressed myself differently in either case, and I'm not going to obsess about it (it's of no import in the grand scheme and besides, I'm dumping it here and letting it go).  It just goes to show that no matter what I say and how I say it, as many people as there are to hear it will be equal to the number of interpretations.

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