Monday, May 10, 2010

Communication Catastrophe

Communication. Like it, or love it. If you're a human, a tree, a t-cell, a robot or a wallaby, I'll bet you have problems with it. We all do. Even those who stand on a platform in the plaza and loudly proclaim "I'm an excellent communicator!" Well, they're probably a well-below average communicator like the rest of us commoners down here in the square wearing our drabby brown peasant fashion and using common street language.

Take comfort in knowing that we all have communication issues.

Here are two examples of miscommunications I have had in my own life.

Example One

At the grocery store, I was waiting in line with all my groceries--milk, bananas, frozen peas, hummus, chocolate and horse meat (just kidding! Just wanted to make sure you were paying attention). When the next line to the one I was waiting in opened. I asked the cashier if he could "check me out." He said, "sure Miss." But he began to scan my groceries and did not check me out. We had made a verbal contract which he was failing to fulfill, I thought about igniting a bitter confrontation. But then I realized what he thought I meant by "checking out," and that I was experiencing miscommunication. This was very disappointing and despaired as I paid in cash.

Example Two

So there I was in Germany, I was at a some social gathering and I kept bumping into the same guy. So, I asked him his name (which I had forgotten).
He said "You again!"
I replied, "Ta da! Me again! Seriously, what's your name?"
"You again!!" This time with more emphasis.
"Me Again!" This was a fun game, and I was enjoying it immensely as I am amused by abnormally simple things. But, I really wanted to know his name. So, I asked one more time.
I got the same reply "You again!!"
And then it hit me, his name was "Jurgen." A very common German name.
And then, like a true ditz, I said "Oh, like, I get it now!"
This was amusing, slightly embarrassing and so I pretended (or perhaps didn't pretend) to be a very silly ditzy girl. Yet another example of miscommunication.

Those are two examples of miscommunication that I have had in my own life.

I have this advice to bestow upon you when you find yourself in one of those miscommunication situations.

"My Really Good Advice:"

1. Don't Panic; this only makes you look self-conscious.
2. Relax; don't sweat the small stuff, and it's all small stuff.
3. Act like a ditz, a meathead, a delinquent or someone who doesn't speak the language if you have to. In other wards, fake it 'till you make it.

If you follow these three easy steps, you will walk away from that awkward situation with your dignity intact. (and perhaps even an amusing story to tell)

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