I walked up to the large cooler of lemonade in a small room off the main reception area a few years ago at a social event I attended. I filled my Styrofoam cup with the refreshing
beverage, then wrote my name on the side so that I could reuse it and save our environment from becoming destroyed by waste.
“Did you spell your name with a ‘sh’?” questioned a man standing behind me.
“Yes,” was my quick, surprised answer.
“Well, let me show you how to write it a different way,” he continued.
He proceeded to make some strange drawings below my name on my cup, then, he sounded out this strange word. I found myself exclaiming, making surprised faces, and generally acting interested, but more concerned about quenching my thirst with my ice cold lemonade. He still held it high explaining or talking about… well, I’m not sure what. I finally excused myself. Visions of my full cup of ice cold lemonade floated through my mind during the next few minutes when I was occupied with serving the guests.. I wondered if the man with the curly, blond hair was still talking about his… well… you know whatever he was talking about because it didn’t appear that he even saw me leave.
Twenty minutes later, with overwhelming thirst, I found my full cup of warm lemonade sitting on the table. I guess it was a while before he realized that I had left, for he had also drawn my last name in that strange Russian language. I gulped my lemonade then stepped to the cooler to fill it and then I walked into the reception area again. There he came. I clutched my lemonade cup to my bosom.
He started to explain about the government or location of Russia or Ireland — I’m not sure which.
“Wow. “I’m really impressed. That’s remarkable. “Did you say you were Russian?” I queried
“No, but the company made this monstrous aircraft…” he continued. I guess he didn’t hear my question and I didn’t understand that he was not talking about Russia or Ireland. He was telling me that his company made aircraft.
I was laughing inside but totally frustration showed on my face so I grabbed the first crack in the flow of words from this man and graciously thanked him for the intelligent information ( which I hadn’t understood the subject of the conversation nor the language) shared and excused myself to find another conversation partner.
People amuse me and even tho this happened many, many years ago, I think of it so often because I have found myself in similar situations. I say something and the person’s answer has nothing to do with what I said. I believe it has to do with our minds and the different ways they process information.
A counselor once told me a good technique to making sure conversation is understood by both parties is to repeat back to the person you’re talking with — “I understand that what you are saying is this……”
NOTE: If your story is not making sense to your listener, please give the lemonade back before the ice melts.