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The Illusion Of Communication

" … we're enthralled by The Illusion Of Communication most all of the time."

The chief difficulty with communication has always been the illusion that it's occurring, that it has occurred. I might be best served by remaining stoically skeptical that I ever understand anything that The Muse tells me, and we're pretty tightly connected. Others? Forget about it. I have no prescription for fixing this apparent feature, though it leads to inevitable rework and sometimes great frustration. It also sometimes leads to great pealing cascades of laughter as we catch each other out, being human.

I'm lost in Cleveland, late for an important client meeting. I call The Muse, asking if she could please look up the address of a restaurant, Salmon Dave's. She agrees, though she's also late for a dinner meeting in Albuquerque. She calls back a few moments later to report that she can find no listing for a Sam And Dave's in Cleveland. Later, we laugh. I'd happened upon the place while awaiting her return call.

I swear that we've discussed the placement of the stove vent duct until everyone involved in the conversation was bored and blue in the face. They'd installed the thing four weeks before and the drywalling had finally caught up with the ductwork. The installers had left what we thought to be a midpoint mark on the adjacent ceiling joist. I even called the installer to confirm the mark's meaning after failing to raise The Muse, who was working remotely in another part of the house, probably on a phone call. We hung the drywall according to the plan's specification. Later, when The Muse moseyed in from her upstairs office, she suddenly realized that the duct had, indeed, been installed incorrectly. The installer will be back later today to adjust for the earlier, damned persistent, misunderstanding.

Yesterday, the contractors chased me around the kitchen. I thought I'd properly anticipated where they'd need to be and quite deliberately set up where I thought I'd be out from underfoot, which meant I only needed to move my sawhorses three times, and even switched to my ancient decrepit sawhorses by the end of the day, as their work seemed unnaturally attracted to where ever I set up. At the end of the day, after moving my freshly sanded boards into what I was certain would remain an unused corner so they would stay dry overnight, the mudding crew decided that it was time to slap mud on exactly that corner of the room. They reassured me that I was not underfoot, though I knew damned well that was a reassuring lie.

We try our best, which is never to imply that we always manage to consistently deliver anything like the best. I learn that the last floorboard I pulled up could have been left in place, since it was destined to end up beneath cabinetry. The Muse sometimes stares at me in abject wonder, baffled about how I could have possibly not understood what I'm certain I understood after the fifth imagined communication. We're in near perfect synch pretty much all of the time, which means that we're enthralled by The Illusion Of Communication most all of the time.

©2018 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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