Category Archives: Communications

The Dance

We bought a new (used) car over the weekend after weeks of searching. It’s a nice car, reliable, in nice condition. Boring. Perfect.

This is our first time buying from a dealership with actual haggling involved (our last car, a 1998 Jeep Cherokee, was purchased from a friend).

It is a delicate dance. A lot of back and forth, more than enough room for missteps.

A lot of: “You’re getting the very best price, believe me.”

A lot of: “But think about it this way.”

A lot of: “OK. OK. Let me go talk to my manager.”

Let me go talk to my manager.

Deflection is key. Both sides must try to get what they want without showing how badly they want it. No one can lose their cool. Smiles all around, but also a few carefully thrown in frowns and just the right, exactly right, amount of doubt, hesitation ought to manifest.

Some: “Hmmmm…”

Some: “Good point, although…”

Some: “Well, I don’t know. I just don’t know.”

Hmmmm.

By the end, ideally, everybody should get a little of what they want. But not everything.

For our first time, we made it through relatively unscathed. And our leasing manager seemed more than fine.

It’s about what we wanted, however badly or not.

 

 

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Filed under Ceremony, Communications, Plans, Relationships, Ritual

Stranger Encounters

They happen.

At times and in turns unsolicited, unprovoked, utterly unreal.

 

1. Flower Market, New Delhi

Random Man: “You there! You are at the flower market and you can’t smile?”

 

2. Dog Park, High Park, Toronto

Dogwalker [runs up to me and Lou]: “Look at him! Him? He’s beautiful. Lovely bone structure. You’re lucky to have him. Congratulations!”

 

3. Coffee Time, Kitchener

Woman Steps Through Front Door: “Dang, dang! Y’all got none of them there cheese cussiants, do ya?”

 

4. Beaches, Toronto

City Garbage Worker [jumps off side of moving truck ]: “Hey! [points to truck driver] He’s Filipino!”

 

5. Ben Thanh Market, Ho Chi Minh City

Vendor [referring to Stephen]: “He has such a gentle face!”

 

6. Beaches, Toronto

Random Man [points to Lou]: “Heinz 57! Heinz 57!”

 

7. Downtown Kitchener

Random Man [blocks my path, bows]: “Ni hao, ni hao, ni hao!”

 

8. Calgary, Alberta

Random Man [yelling from driver’s side of parked pick up truck as Stephen and I walk down the street]: “Got him walking on the outside of the sidewalk! Good man you got there!”

 

 

 

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Filed under Communications, Dogs, People, Places, Plants, Uncategorized

The Art of Conversing…

…with other people. It’s not easy, but it’s not always hard. Or, at least, it doesn’t have to be. Not always.

Evidently, it’s best to let conversation flow by allowing, at times encouraging, the other person to talk about themselves. Forget topics like politics or work or religion or the weather.

Get them to talk about themselves.

Hardly a feat.

People love to talk about themselves! So many of them just do. Which can be a great advantage because information is power and there are so many fools out there and fools slip up all the time, inadvertently showing you who they really are in a few poorly contrived quips or two (or three or four depending on the fool and their personal level of foolishness).

 

*Bronze Level Foolishness*

“I don’t know exactly. But. I. Am. Sure.”

“I know you said you’re not interested, but I’m going to leave the door open. I’m just going to leave it open. It’s open.”

“I only drink water in the morning so that it will last all day and I won’t need to stop to drink. My body knows. Saves time.”

 

**Sliver Level Foolery**

“Well, when I’m up, I assume everyone is up! Because they should be.”

*[Scoffs wetly to emphasize point]* 

“I will not abide graffiti.”

“See how slim my fingers are? Intelligence!”

  

***Gold Level Fools***

“Gay guys hit on me all the time! I’m what’s known as a ‘bear.’”

I’ve never seen anything racist, so…you know?”

*[Blinks slowly for effect]* 

“Listen, if I had started fathering children at sixteen I’d be a grandfather by now!”

“I should make lesbian porn because I know what lesbians like!”

 

Maya Angelou said it best: “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”

Believe.

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Communications, Language, People, Relationships

Know What Annoys Me?

You.

Or, rather, dealing with you, the person that is you. Or whoever it is that you become when you annoy me.

Not all the time, but sometimes. Enough? Too much?

Hard to assign responsibility here, and don’t want to give too much credit.

BUT.

Here. We. Are.

Maybe it’s not you or me, but us.

Though I doubt it. You seem fine. I’m just not.

What are we even doing here?

Let’s change the subject…

Lovely weather, is it not?

(You annoy me so much.)

Beautiful day!

(Except when you don’t.)

Think it will rain?

(It’s not a matter of “if” but “when.”)

A little rain never hurt anybody!

(Like the tides, or the apocalypse.)

Hm? Yes, of course, I’ll call you!

That goes without saying, does it?

Oh.

Well.

It should.

 

 

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Filed under Communications, Emotion, Friends, People, Relationships

Good Intentions

What are these actually worth, especially when what they amount to is hurt and pain and misery…or inconvenience or humiliation or shame?

No one says, “Well, at least I had good intentions” when everything turns out OK and no one is upset or offended or otherwise injured. When the shit doesn’t hit the fan.

You can’t take credit and admit guilt. Absolve and take responsibility.

But you can try, and probably get away with most of what you’re after. Eat that cake, and have it too. Big bites, anyway. Juicy ones.

If that’s what you intend.

If that’s the best you’ve got.

If you know what I mean.

 

 

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Filed under Ceremony, Communications, Language, Words

Please Select That Which Best Applies

If I do not know the ordering procedure of a particular eating establishment, I will:

a) Decide to go somewhere else.

b) Eventually convince myself that I am not that hungry after all.

c) Stare on in puzzlement until it’s officially socially awkward for everyone involved.

d) Turn heel. Run home.

e) b & d

f) a & c

 

Your puppy:

a) Is the most adorable thing I have ever seen. Your puppy has therefore ruined my life.

b) Is the absolute best.

c) I WANT A PUPPY.

d) I cannot afford a puppy right now.

f) All of the above.

 

What That Guy Said?:

a) “Old.”

b) “Ode.”

c) “Auld.”

d) “Bald.”

e) “Sassafras gonads.”

 

PUNCTUATION THROWDOWN:

a) .

b) !

c) : OR ;

d) c OR Both

e) c & d

f) How come no one cares about ampersand?

 

Discreet Flatulence:

a) Acceptable.

b) Diabolical.

c) You ruined it by calling if “flatulence.”

 

Book or Movie:

a) Book.

b) Movie.

c) Both is not an answer.

c) Both.

 

You’ll be in:

a) My heart.

b) My thoughts and/or prayers.

c) Deep shit.

d) Shallow Paraguay.

 

I would love to:

a) Help.

b) Be able to help.

c) Consider helping.

d) Consider being able to help.

e) b, c & d

f) Never a.

 

Choose Your Fighter:

a) Emperor Penguin.

b) Death Cap Mushroom.

c) Giant Spider.

d) Tiny T-Rex.

e) Haunted Waterslide.

f) Ugly American.

 

Nonsensical:

a) “Owning the Libs.”

b) “I can fix them.”

c) “I’m sorry if…”

d) “All lives matter.”

e) “Books are dead.”

f) All of the above (plus a few others, TBA).

g) All of the above (but e especially).

 

Good answer:

a) Yes.

b) No.

 

Best answer:

a) No.

b) GOD NO.

 

 

 

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Filed under Animals, Books, Communications, Dogs, Interruptions, Mind and Body, Places

Q&A

Asking questions to which the answer is known is one thing.

Asking leading questions in search of an answer is another.

Questions are said to be more important than answers.

Because there are no stupid questions.

There are no stupid questions?

How about ridiculous inquiries? Pointless inquires? Abject probes?

Yes and yes and oh, hell Honey, yes.

But I guess that depends on who’s asking, never minding why.

 

 

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Filed under Communications, Interruptions, Language, Ritual, Words

Thin Slices

As a warm-up/breaking the ice kind of exercise, the class facilitator asked us each of us to name ONE GOOD THING that has happened in the past week to SHARE with the class.

In her case: she won resort tickets from the local radio station.

In another: a pregnant person in class said that she felt her baby kick for the first time.

In another: someone got the unexpected (but very much welcomed) gift of cash instead of the dreaded presents they were expecting.

Or was that the dreaded present?

I can’t remember. And I forgot the rest. 18 of us in the class, but I forget what else was said.

I was too busy scraping my dregs of my mind for something – anything – GOOD that happened that week to SHARE.

Recent memory is sometimes the worst memory.

“It doesn’t have to be a big thing, like winning radio tickets,” the facilitator added hastily, sensing the trepidation among those of us in the class facing the immense, the profuse difficulty of finding something – anything – GOOD to SHARE. Anything GOOD that happened that week.

It had to be GOOD and you had to SHARE it.

Big ask.

“Not anything that big. You can slice thin. Slice it really thin and share.”

She gave examples: not stubbing your toe. Not getting stuck in traffic on the way to class. Not having a swing a dead cat anywhere to make a point. Not being diseased in any serious way. Not being (as) destitute (as you could, and probably someday will, be).

(I may have made some of those up.)

“Slice it real thin, and you’ll see how having just a few good things happen can get your through the day.”

Slice it thin and you’ll see.

How thin, though?

But how thin? 

How thin must we go until we get there?

 

 

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Filed under Communications, Education, Language, People

Won’t Amount to a Hill of These

My habit isn’t to eavesdrop on people, but I do at times catch snatches of conversations that are hard to keep to myself.

 

Yesterday, it was one about beans:

“I can’t eat so many things right now.”

“You want chicken wings? My mom can make chicken – ”

“No.”

“How about tacos?”

“With the kids? Too messy.”

“Oh.”

“You know. I can have chilli. She makes good chilli.”

“Okay! Chilli it is.”

“Problem is, I hate beans in my chilli. Can’t handle them. Especially now.”

“So we’ll ask her not to put them in.”

“Oh, please.”

“What?”

“Remember the time you mentioned you didn’t want beans and she served you a bowl of bean-less chilli and then she gave me mine and it was just full of beans? And I told her, again, that I can’t stomach beans in my chilli and she was like ‘Oh, you don’t like them?’”

“That was just a misunderstanding.”

“No it wasn’t. She hates me. She did it on purpose. Because she hates me.”

“She doesn’t – ”

“She’s crazy and she hates me.”

“Because…she puts beans in your chilli?”

THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO ABOUT BEANS. You didn’t have any beans in your chilli.”

 

Shortly after, it was time for their appointment. I watched as they walked out of my life, presumably forever.

Memory and conviction are odd catalysts in conversation – where they will take you and where they don’t, and what that will do to the rest of your day.

It wasn’t about the beans.

It wasn’t ever about the beans.

 

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Filed under Communications, Family, Food, Relationships, THE FUTURE, THE PAST

Open Secrets, Vol. 13

  • What goes around comes around around around.
  • Reverse Psychology vs. Emotional Blackmail.
  • Bad relationships —> Good Drama —> Bad Kharma.
  • Where are all the candelabras?
  • Back Talk vs. Forward Thinking.
  • Kingmaker, Starkiller, Widowmaker.
  • Missing: keys, cat, you.
  • Eat the whole thing.
  • Seen it yet?
  • Work family values.
  • Puff Up vs. Simmer Down.
  • Back again there and.
  • Everlucky 13.

 

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Filed under Change, Communications, Relationships, Words, Work