Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Invisible Scrambling Device...

The Key
Jackson Pollock

Last night there were 100,000 Vancouver Canucks hockey fans jammed into downtown Vancouver to watch the fifth game of the Stanley Cup finals.  I was not one of them. I prefer to watch the games from the sanctity of my tree house.

In the past few years I have discovered something about myself: I love my solitude. For five days a week I work in a busy, noisy, vibrant office, where from hour to hour there is always some sort of a crisis. There is no such thing as prioritizing work, or planning the day, because of the constant barrage of emergencies and calamities. Hustle, bustle ... noise. When I get home at the end of the day, and lock the door behind me, I am completely refreshed by the airiness and freshness of the trees outside my window. I don't feel at all as if I am in the middle of a city of 2 million people.

At one time in my life, I thought just about the most dreadful thing that could possibly happen to me was to be alone. Oh, goodness, no. How awful was that to be alone...? But now I cherish my "alone time", so that I can also cherish the time I am with family and friends. I love socializing and enjoying the company of other people, especially knowing I can eventually go home to the blissful sounds of silence.

Is this a bad thing? Have I become a recluse? I hope not.

At times I am rather confused by human interaction.  I believe that, during some conversations, there is an invisible scrambling device that exists somewhere between the "sender" and the "receiver".  A completely innocuous statement or question will be picked up by this invisible scrambler and translated into something entirely different before it reaches the receiver's ears.  A simple questions such as,

"Is it raining today, do I need my umbrella?" will travel through the scrambler and reach the receiver's ears as,

"Why on earth didn't you tell me it was going to rain, I don't have my umbrella with me!"

to which the receiver will respond,

"Are you blaming me because it's raining?  How is it my fault it's raining?  I have control over the weather?  How on earth do I have any control over the weather!"


Folks hear what the scrambler has construed.  I'm not very good at those sorts of exchanges, and I don't know how to de-escalate them.

"Oh, Gawd, that's not what I meant!"

Many times a day I see this same scenario occuring among people.

"Did you hear what he just said?  What did he mean by that?"

The invisible scrambler is the greatest cause of miscommunication and animosity between two otherwise very nice, reasonable folks.  So, increasingly I enjoy my own company.  At least when I say something, I understand what I mean.  I know I have no hidden agenda.

Today, "me, myself and I" are going to go for a long walk on the beach and enjoy our own company.  Have a wonderful weekend, folks.


Charlene said...

One friend is working 16 hour shifts in his business, another has gone to Florida with his girlfriend for a wedding of her cousin, another has gone to Gulf Shores with her boyfriend, another is on a family vacation, so it' sme whi week end and Felice and I are calm, relaxed, under the ceiling fans. SMILE

Jo said...

Charlene, enjoy!!! :-)

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I've been thinking for a long time that Flip has a word scrambler in his brain which makes everything he says unintelligible. He knows what he means, but I am completely lost, even with the same frames of reference.

It hadn't occurred to me that this is widespread among the population, though. I think you're onto something, Jo. How else to explain the near-constant misunderstandings that plague us all?

And like you, I have also revised my ideas about solitude and just wish I had more of it.

Jo said...

Susan, yes, the more noise the world makes, the less we hear. What we say, and what people understand are far apart. We babble, and they don't hear ... they babble, and we don't understand. We all need more solitude, I think.

Auntie sezzzzzz... said...

From the sound of your crisis-control job, I can't imagine you NOT valuing your peace-and-quiet!

Nor can I imagine choosing to be in the midst of a sports crowd. I always think that, when I see any crowd at a game, on tv of course.

"Just think, they all have to leave there and drive home!"

Whereas the tv viewer simply turns off the tv, brushes his/her teeth and goes to bed. :-)

Mmmm, I think that "Invisible Scrambling Device" is simply that we do not LISTEN well enough, to what the other person is really saying. We are too busy concocting a reply in our heads. Rush.. Rush... Rush... It's the name of the game today.

Same with blogging. Did you ever make some point perfectly clear, in a blog entry...... And have someone ask a question in comments, which was answered in your post?

Again, we skim... We read blogs fast. We read everything fast. We live fast, it seems.

I admit to being the very worst of the lot! -sigh- Even just reading for pleasure, I *must hurry*! -sigh- Why, why, why is that? -sigh-


PhilipH said...

I don't get much "alone" time other than going for a short stroll now and then. I am truly envious of you Jo.
It may sound selfish but not having to consider another person, or listen to them, or when to take a meal, or not having to have the tv on for some soppy soap and dozens of other considerations is nirvana. Yes, it DOES sound selfish, but so what? If the truth is known I'd say that we are ALL selfish in one way or another.

PinkPanthress said...

A great weekend to you, too! ❤

Leslie: said...

Rest up tonight as tomorrow will be full of hustle and bustle as the first market rolls into town. :D

myletterstoemily said...

i feel exactly the same way and need lots
of solitude to recover after even a few
hours of 'socialization.'

great post!

joanne said...

I have a hard time finding the balance between the alone time and the people time to make me content. But I sure have been a victim of that darn scrambling device alot lately! deep breath...enjoy the day.

DJan said...

That's a good way to think of it, Jo. Miscommunication is everywhere, and taking it personally is something I choose not to do any more. And being firmly ensconced in alone time is some of my favorite time of all!

Meryl Baer said...

I totally understand the misunderstanding/miscommunications.My husband is an engineer, and I am not. This is the Mars/Venus thing on steroids. We are sometimes not only on different planets, but in different solar systems.

Jennifer D said...

Jo you spoke my heart again. I have a couple friends that I love to spend time with but they are constantly misunderstanding me. They hear my words correctly but have a completely different definition of what I said. It isn't usually an escalated sort of thing but it is like I am being misrepresented by my own words. Sometimes I think "oh no, that isn't what I meant, how did she get that from it." I do love my solitude.

Anil P said...

Silences can regenerate, refresh, and help the focus, besides balancing the 'other' life. To be surrounded by nature is at times blissfull.

Very many times, sentences are lost in translation, contexts misunderstood, and situations escalated.

If only giving the other the benefit of doubt was more commonplace, so much could remain on track, chugging peacefully.

Linda Myers said...

I'm a good listener, but I still haven't figured out the precise meaning of "whatever".

Anonymous said...

My scrambler filtered out everything else except that there was that hockey game! Did the Canucks win? :)

Marguerite said...

I can definitely relate to the need for some solitude. I don't get nearly enough of it and treasure it when I do. Enjoy your Sunday, Jo!

Kathryn said...

Oh, agreed! People do hear the strangest things from the most innocuous statements.

Whitney Lee said...

We hear everything through the filter of our own moods and our own past experiences. It makes for a hell of a conversation sometimes, doesn't it? It seems that the better and longer you've known someone the worse it can be. Too much past history to filter through or something. I agree with the comment about how we don't really listen to one another because we're too busy formulating a response. Multitasking at its finest. I mean, really, can you imagine how long a conversation might take if we actually listened to the other person and then thought about what they said before we spoke? Hell, we'd never get anything done. Of course, we'd save the time spent dissecting what they really meant when they said they didn't have an umbrella and why they thought it was our responsibility, yadda, yadda, yadda...

I've never had trouble with solitude. So many of my interests are solitary in nature. And, honestly, I'm selfish enough to enjoy not having to worry about anyone but myself.

Paula Slade said...

Silence is definitely "golden" in my book. ;-D