Saturday, May 01, 2004

Veering wildly away from communication

Dave Pollard's posts really get to me but in a good way, mind you. What I mean is that he really gets me to think about things in a different way. Definitely gets the ol' cells firing in this brain.

Then again, sometimes I end up waaaaay off topic after reading one of his posts.

Take his latest post on communication. After reading his commentors, for some reason, I ended up thinking about my mother-in-law, southern belle extraordinaire.

Even though she's a southern belle, she's actually a zen master of communication. In fact, she deserves an advanced degree. She told me once she really works hard at thinking of what to say to people; it even keeps her up at night. I believe it. What she gives me the whillies because she never says what she means.

It's a game. Her words are code.

Example: to me at the dinner table: would you like butter on your bread? (code: please pass me the butter because I never ask for anything, not even for the butter.) Her kids knew exactly what she meant. As for me, I said no and she gave me a look and an ahem. A brother-in-law saved me, saying, mom, don't you ever say what you mean? In response, she sighs and rolls her eyes. I'm doomed. Forever the bad object.

And so it goes. I know that Deborah Tannen notes a gender divide while Lakoff, her mentor, delineates a political divide. I've got a mother-in-law divide here. And as Mother's Day approaches, her day of all days, no matter there are other mothers in this world, I begin to think.... bad thoughts.

Every year, it's a celebration of her. This year, no. We are not doing that. We celebrate me. So there. (Foot stamp for added effect).