Crumbs From the Corner: Adventures in Woolgathering

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Sense of Direction

"The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place."
-George Bernard Shaw

I worry slightly whenever Mater is away from her home and her usual routine. She is away this week visiting family, relishing an interim of warm conversation, ocean air and delicious food.
In particular, given that tomorrow she intends to drive home, I am concerned about the sense of direction she was not endowed with.
Once, years ago, the pair of us went to stay with some relatives who lived less than fifty miles away from us. At the end of our stay, Mater and I climbed into our car which was parked in the driveway.
"Goodbye!" the numerous relatives cried out.
One family member offered, through the open window, sensible instruction on how Mater might get home most efficiently, beginning with a left turn once she emerged onto the street .
With a confident nod, Mater slid the car out with the air of an expert, and proceeded to turn swiftly to the right. Away she went, waving to the clan that stood on the doorstep, their figures abruptly painted with open mouths and wide, disbelieving eyes.
Mater fancied that they were waving farewell; they were gesticulating frantically in hasty efforts to right the wrong turn she had made.
Fortunately Mater had a travelling companion, and I endeavoured to correct the error within a few feet of the gate, if not immediately.
Moments later, a mortified Mater drifted past the house and glided past a muted, astonished group who wondered, perhaps, if she would make it home in time for next week's dinner.
How strange that we might hear a single line of advice, that we could convince ourselves and all and sundry that we have absorbed its worth, yet follow with an action of reverse proportions. I strongly suspect that Mater had already determined, unwittingly, which path to choose; her brother's advice thus fell on deaf ears.
When accepting advice or attempting to learn something new, it is wise to possess a mind that is open, and wiped clean of what one imagined one was certain of.


Barb said...

This story is somewhat like asking the time and immediately forgetting and needing to ask again.

Our minds are a wonderful instrument but taken for granted with nary a thought for its' intricate workings.

Cute story ... I can see myself doing something quite similar. Barb

San said...

I share your Mater's sense of direction, I mean the lack thereof. And there's something about an error, whether in thought or action, that wants to be repeated, as though it's worn a groove in the brain and can't climb out.

I hope your Mater finds her way back home, refreshed by conversation, good food, and ocean air. HOW lovely.

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

Barb, exactly! I like your analogy- you see the time, you take it in when you look at your watch, but somehow it doesn't get absorbed properly. It's strange. And true, we do take our minds for granted, and don't really understand their depths!

San, I like this: "as though it's worn a groove in the brain and can't climb out." That's a great comment. I think that's how it is, really. It does feel like that when somebody is explaining a thing to you and you hear them but it is like they are speaking another language- not that they're saying anything complicated, just that depending on whether we are tuned in or not, common words can temporarily lose all their meaning.
Mater is home now, and it seems she had a good time, so thank you!

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