Today and yesterday I was involved in miscommunication. Today's was sweet, yesterday's was nearly tragic, but funny!
For today's walk I partnered up with a gruff looking fellow and his barking beast. We were walking fast, I was listening to an old "Jars of Clay" album at top volume, so we weren't talking. Technically walking together, but not really.
At different intersections I would look over to see which way Mr. Gruff was heading - or he'd look my way - and we'd match directions. Because I had headphones on and music blaring, I pantomimed my requests when I wanted verification on which way to point my feet.
I got to one corner and was considering heading up a street with a nice hill. I wasn't sure though, whether following that street would bring us right back to where we were, it looked like it might curve back around on itself. I turned to consult Gruff - who, it turned out, was across the street and somewhat behind me. A car was coming down the road. I flailed my arms and shouted (I keep forgetting that it's only me who's going to have trouble hearing, I'm the one with the music turned to full volume - duh!) - asking and pantomiming my curiosity about whether the nice hilly road turned back on itself.
The car slowed down. My arms were still going. As I recall I was making movements somewhat similar to the ones the scarecrow made in The Wizard of Oz - left arm going right, right arm going left - only I was moving very energetically. The car pulled over.
Gruff told me that, indeed, the road came back around on itself - and besides, he was taking his beast to the field down the block, not making another turn off. OK. He started off his way, I started off my way. The car waited.
The occupant of the car thought I was in distress (arms waving frantically, barking beast and gruff looking dude following me). They'd pulled over to assist me, if assistance was needed. Definite case of miscommunication, but so sweet. Today, with all we've got going on in our heads (or at least in mine), to even notice someone possibly needing help - and then hang there to find out if they do. Wow! It made my heart swell.
Yesterday was different. My daughter, son and I were heading up to our town - the one we'd like to move to (just watch us, we'll do it!) - great small town feel plus wondrous cultural climate AND plenty of independent stores (bookstores, a music store, restaurants, toy store, etc. - just perfect!).
We're driving through town, looking for where we'll park so that we can walk around and explore. We're talking - of course - and there's music blaring (of course) - and that means I have no idea where I'm going (even though I've been there many, many times and DO, really know the place).
So, while talking, I'm waving my arms (scarecrow style again) - this time expecting direction from my highly space/time-concsious daughter. I am not, unfortunately, paying attention to what's off to the left or right of me - because I'm IN the conversation and only looking straight ahead at the red light and any oncoming traffic.
So I didn't see the nice young man who was about to walk straight in front of my car when the light turned green. He had seen me, had seen my arms flailing and assumed I was motioning him to go. Ooops! Definite communication misreading!! Luckily I was looking in front of the car and saw his kind-looking face turn horror-stricken, quickly found the brake pedal, and slowly waved one hand across from right to left to tell him "It's ok to go, I'll wait."
It was my daughter who explained that the guy had taken my original hand signals to mean "Go!" I'm not sure if it was the shock of nearly killing someone in my favorite town (which would have put a pall on the whole "perfect" town thing for me, I'm pretty sure) or just the idea of seeing my own absurdity - often (way too often) having no idea where I'm going and making wild gestures trying to figure out where I'm going (when in truth I enjoy the journey and don't care where I'm going) but I laughed until my sides hurt.
p.s. nice young man who was almost run over, if this laughing face looks familiar - I AM sorry!