When I first decided to begin blogging, Dave asked me what the subject or topic of my blog would be. I told him I wanted it to go along with my website, in which I advertised the books I had written, the workshops I presented, and my passion for learning, teaching, communication, and trust. He suggested I call the blog "Miss Communication", which I thought was hilarious. A bit like "Miss Manners", it would center mainly on topics about miscommunication with a twist. Naturally, it has morphed into so much more---some blogs focus entirely on teaching, while others focus on relationships, but they often have the theme of communication.
This one is no exception. Dave often accuses me of not always hearing things correctly and that I simply make up for what I didn't hear with quirky, naughty, or funny things that fill in the blanks. I suppose I can't argue with him on that (nor would I want to---after all, it is Father's Day, so why stir the pot on his special day?). In my humble traveler experience, the Denver Airport is one of the best places to mis-hear things, as they have an intercom system that allows people to page someone. It simply cracks me up, every time I'm there, because they do it the exact same way. They call out the person's last name, then they call out the person's first AND last name. Here is an example: "Mr. Payne. Mr. Ned Payne." But when I heard that (true story), I heard "Mr. Neck Payne". And then I am stuck with a fit of giggles all the while moving from one gate to another all by myself. I always text my best friend from college, Robin, when this happens, as she lives fairly near the Denver airport and knows exactly what I mean. Other hilarious (or maybe just marginally funny, depending on the level of warp in your sense of humor) examples have been "Mr. Bean. Mr. Kenny Bean" and "Mr. Babbit. Mr. Peter Babbit." If you can't figure out how I misheard those, "comment" to me, and I'll explain them.
It is likely in about every other workshop I teach in which someone asks me a question, and I mis-hear what they say, and I have to tell the whole group. We all have a good laugh and then we can move on with the remainder of the serious (okay, maybe not completely serious) training.
Dave and I are on a month-long vacation with Kirby and Rudy, our sweet Labs. We are in Taos, New Mexico and are enjoying various day trips around the area to go on hikes, check out local restaurants, and see the sights. We have been blessed to have dear friends (Glenn and Beverley) visit us from Tucson for the last three days. We drove up to Taos Ski Valley with the dogs to hike (there is actually still snow on the mountain, which is amazing to me because the temperatures have been in the 80s). On the way, we stopped in a beautiful little town called Arroyo Seco (that's not the funny part, in case you were looking for a miscommunication issue) in order to find waterfalls our server at a restaurant in town had told us we had to go see. We ended up on a dirt road, and we were wondering if Glenn's GPS was working correctly. We were in the mountains, after all. He said, "No, it's true. It's true. It says we're still going the right way." I was driving, so I was watching the road intently, when I heard Beverley say, "False! False!" Dave and I thought it was funny that she was refuting what Glenn was saying when Glenn was the one holding the phone with the GPS. She called out again, "False! False!", when all of a sudden we realized she was saying, "Falls! Falls!" as she pointed to a tiny little wooden sign that had a white arrow with the word "Falls". We all busted up, laughing, and I told her she was going to be the subject of this week's blog. We did make it to the falls, which were lovely, for those of you Paul Harvey fans who care about "the rest of the story".
Miscommunication issues like this are so funny to me, and it is likely in part due to the fact that I study communication all the time, and the human nature that feeds into our misunderstandings is fascinating to me. But, obviously, miscommunication is not always funny, because it can often lead to relationship problems between people. Ongoing miscommunication can lead to severed relationships that can sometimes not be repaired. I've seen this happen among family members (good intentions gone awry), couples (miscommunication that never gets resolved and becomes resentment), teachers and principals (not solid enough trust to see one another's perspective), and many more.
Just for today, perhaps we can consider that whenever there is miscommunication, there are at least two people involved (the sender and the receiver) of the message. We should recognize that the perspective from which we are operating is but 1/2 of the total perspective, at best. And, by all means, if you are ever traveling up near Taos, and someone calls out "False!", they probably mean you should turn to go see the falls.