'ok 'ver-suz ma-pel

This is an excerpt from my journal from many years back when I was still married. I've pulled it out of retirement to give me time until I come up with something more interesting.

My husband and I have totally different communication styles even on the best of days. Here was one of our conversations during a Saturday night outing.

Dean: "Hmmm. What do you feel like for dinner tonight, Diane? Pizza or Mexican?"

Diane: "There is this new Thai restaurant that opened up."

Dean: "Why won't you answer my question? What do you want for dinner?"

Diane: "I did answer your question. I'd like to try the Thai place tonight."

He genuinely didn't understand my reply. There is no such thing as inference in my husband's mental processes. In this particular situation, he was looking for an answer that either resembled the words "Mexican" or "pizza." Any word or phrase spoken by me beyond the two options would not compute with him. Dean is a type A engineer, who thinks very mathematically. In his world of communication, Ax + By = C. A is always A. B is always B. And there will always, unequivocally be a C. I guess my language would be considered "fuzzy math."

Every day, almost every hour, the scenario is the same. During high stress times, the situation and conversations would be almost comical if they weren't so painful. We're caught in a vicious cycle. It's easier not to speak to each other.

My husband has developed a brand new vocabulary, all his own, to describe my communication issues:

Misspeak \mis-spek'\-- Misspeaks are those occasions when I articulate the wrong word. For example, I might say, "Could you get a glass out of the dresser" when what I meant to say was "cabinet." Misspeaks happen more and more frequently during times of extreme nervousness and agitation. However, I will admit that misspeaks do occasionally occur during perfectly fine, casual conversations. I think it is genetic-- my mother and sister experience the misspeak phenomenon.

Miscue \mis-kyu'\ -- This is something that happens when I have misinterpreted something Dean has said. Dean is most alert to this communication faux pas and will attempt to correct my feebleness. "ARE WE HAVING ANOTHER MISCUE? WAIT, I THINK WE ARE HAVING ANOTHER MISCUE!" Mind you, there is no possibility that my interpretation was not a miscue and really resembled what Dean actually said. Dean would never suffer from a "misspeak" (see definition above).

Oak verses Maple \'ok 'ver-suz ma-pel\-- This is my personal favorite. It denotes the rare occasions when I actually communicated with Dean correctly. However, my interpretation is still wrong because I do not agree with him.

We have yet to create new vocabulary words that describe Dean's inability to communicate with me. He'd almost have me believing that failure to communicate was only my problem if it weren't for the fact that my livelihood depends on my ability to communicate.

I hope that Dean and I can resolve our communication issues without inventing a whole new dictionary. If only Dean would recognize that the communication problems between us are not the result of just one person's shotcomings. Until then, I guess I really am on Oak while he's on Maple. I'd try and stop to ask for directions, but frankly, I'm just tired of talking.


Jaws said...

Hubby and I .. our convos are fine unless he is playing a computer game. Then is is me asking the same question 5 times with out a answere until finally I scream it.

KOM said...


Not to get too "Men are from Mars...", but I've given up expecting to speak to the opposite sex in a word-for-word lockstep. I think it's more like two people who natively speak completely different languages communicating in English. The words are there, but often the context is confused. Especially in chit-chat, the non-verbal cues are as important as the speaking.

David said...

See I think your ex was right. I mean he CLEARLY asked you what you wanted - "Mexican OR Pizza". See there are you TWO choices. Do you see Thai in there anywhere? NOOOOO Did he say "What would you like to go eat?" NOOOOOOO


OK OK OK!!!!!!!!
I was just picking. Sounds about the same as when my wife and I go out to eat. We have started the discussions and finally go eat 2 hours later after we finally decide (Go where she wants to).

queenofsass said...

And men wonder why women hate them?

Diane Mandy said...

Jaws - I always get a goof vibe when you post about you and your husband. Sounds like the communication is just fine, except when the playstation is on. Easy fix...dump it.

KOM- I agree on the whole Men Venus thing. Ironically my husband purchased that book and had us read it together before we married. Didn't help. But, I think in his case the mood disorder issues were a large part of what went wrong.

Dave - :-) You just make me smile.