Logical Gal: those Martian men and Venetian women

27 Aug

It’s true – we really are different!

Besides the physical and emotional distinctions, what else separates us?  Our definitions!

We view and use terms in ways that are not always identical.  As St. Exupéry’s Fox informs the Little Prince:

Renard (Little prince)

“Le language est source des malentendus” (Language is the source of misunderstandings)

Friday my husband and I bought a new car for me in a town south of where I teach school.  It has been more than 10 years since I’ve had this experience and this latest 4WD small SUV came equipped with bells and whistles that were overwhelming.  So as Mike and I set out to convoy home from the dealership, I said I would ‘follow’ him.  I felt it was challenging enough to drive the new car safely without having to hunt for signs to the interstate.  Over 50, I sensibly have stopped clinging to the false notion that I can multi-task.  The idea of setting and following ‘Miss Bossy GPS Lady’ was too much for me!

All was well in this ‘following’ maneuver until we reached the interstate.  I now KNEW the way home, so didn’t feel the need to stay directly behind my husband’s car.  I was, after all, behind him in one sense of the term and in MY lexicon that qualified in the wide definition of what it means ‘to follow’.

The only problem was that this dear Martian man of mine was NOT privy to my unpublished Venetian glossary. Unbeknownst to me, he grew more and more aggravated as I fell behind.  So he attempted to catch my attention by driving erratically.  My reaction, at first, was to think that something was wrong with his Subaru.  So I prayed.  Then it occurred to me that he might be suffering a stroke or at the least low blood sugar since we were now past the dinner hour.  (These 2 scenarios were unlikely for his car is only 2 years old and he doesn’t have any physical condition that would justify my imaginings!).  But I prayed even more earnestly.

When we finally reached our cove and pulled off the busy highway, he stopped to get the paper.  I rolled down my window and said: What is wrong with you! Are you alright?

Well, that caught him by surprise because he was about to ask me the same questions.

We laugh now,

reconciled husband and wife

but lesson learned:  Be clear about terms.  Ask one another, “When you say you’re going to FOLLOW me, what do you actually mean by that?”  I also learned that when I change my mind about something AFTER I have told him what my intention was, I should communicate that too.

I guess Martians are not mind readers.

All joking aside, good clear thinking is foundational to logic.  And formal logic always starts with clarifying terms.  If two people can sort out, pin down distinctions and agree to abide by certain definitions, then much aggravation is avoided.

Question: when has language gotten in the way of communicating with someone you love? 


3 Responses to “Logical Gal: those Martian men and Venetian women”

  1. Patricia Godel Gray August 27, 2014 at 12:46 pm #

    Whew! I’m glad that had a happy ending!!

    I was in an accident two weeks ago – my road curved left, oncoming driver curved right, but we were both close to the center line (2-lane country road). and her left front scraped along my left side, leaving both cars (her 2013 Jetta and my 2009 minivan) on a collision course. She scraped right down the two doors. Neither one was clearly at fault, so our insurance companies said both were, and each is paying its own client.

    I had the two boys, and they griped about being late for an afternoon with a friend, but no one was injured. And since we had left the house early, we got to the friend’s house just in time.

    I have a rental car, a newer Impala, fleet model, and we have to keep it clean and undamaged for two weeks, while the front driver’s side door and the rear passenger sliding door are replaced, and other stuff is dealt with. Just learning how to operate different manufacturers’ knobs and levers and buttons takes more attention/energy/wits than driving!!

    Guess we can knock that car prayer off your prayer list and Praise the Lord for the newer vehicle. Happy Commuting!

    Love, Trish

  2. Patricia Godel Gray August 27, 2014 at 12:46 pm #

    What happened with Mike, the editor and the article??

    • Maria August 27, 2014 at 2:33 pm #

      Thanks for the account of your near call. Whew! Glad we can call upon our heavenly Father!

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