SOLC 2019, Day 7: Interpretation

11454297503_e27946e4ff_hMarch 2019 SOLC–Day 7
A huge thank you to Two Writing Teachers for all that they do to create an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write, learn, share and grow.

My husband, Kurt, and I walked into the small theater, looking forward to the upcoming comedy show. Threading our way down the aisle, we finally found some seats and got settled. Kurt and I chatted, waiting for the show to start, and during our comfortable long-married silences, we casually eavesdropped. The people behind us were chatting in a stilted overly jocular way, seeming a bit self-conscious. Maybe a first date? 

Not long after we sat down, the man behind us made a pronouncement. Kurt muttered, “Now there’s a story!” and I simultaneously dove into my bag to retrieve my mini writing notebook. Quickly, and surreptitiously, I jotted down the man’s words.

Later, on the way home from the show, we talked about the couple. We agreed that they sounded like they were on a first date, and that the man sounded a bit pompous.

“But, did you hear what he said about changing his life?” I asked

“Yeah! I wonder how he hit bottom three times,” Kurt replied.

“What?!” I said. “I thought he said he’d tried to change and improve his life three times!”

We debated for a while, each of us convinced our interpretation was the right one.

The next morning I found the exact words written in my notebook. I still think they support my version, but I suppose you could make a case for either interpretation. It was just chance that I wrote down the words and that we even talked about it. It made me think about how the lens of our experience impacts how we see the world. Kurt is a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner who works with inmates in the county jails. I work with 10 year olds. Hmmm…The experience also made me wonder how often we interpret things in totally different ways and never even know it! And how that might unconsciously affect us and the people around us. 

This is what the man actually said:

“I’ve recreated my life three times in the past three decades…and each time for the better.”

So, what do you think?


20 thoughts on “SOLC 2019, Day 7: Interpretation

  1. amyilene says:

    It really is a moment that defines the way the two of you experience the world professionally. Fascinating slice!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Stephanie Affinito says:

    I LOVE this! I wrote about my mighty blueberry yesterday, helping me shift perspective, and this did exactly that! I am with you: he chose to recreate his life 3 times, but I do see where your husband is coming from too. Fascinating to think about today!


  3. keitheduardo says:

    This had me hooked to the end. I think he recreated his life three times in three decades…for if he were on a first date, would he spill the beans about hitting rock bottom three times? Hmmmm….but…..?????

    Liked by 1 person

  4. tenkoranmaah says:

    Powerful slice! Captured my attention all the way.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Nice. That’s what keeps me grounded, the juxtaposition between the way my husband sees the world and my view. Perhaps he changed his life because of set backs or perhaps he just evolved.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love the way the many said that he’s recreated his life — with each time being better. It’s that kind of positivity that makes a difference, doesn’t it?

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      See, Stacey! We (you and I) think alike. My husband and I reengaged in our debate after he read my post. Interestingly, we both think the word “recreated” is critical to our interpretations–but we still have different interpretations!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Amanda Potts says:

    I really appreciated how you held the comment back until the end. I was completely hooked the minute you heard it… then you wrote it down… then you talked about it and had heard it so differently… ACK! I *needed* to know. And I love your observation about “how often we interpret things in totally different ways and never even know it! And how that might unconsciously affect us and the people around us.” That said, I’m with you, but I’m a teacher, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. mgminer says:

    So much depends on the assumptions we make. Riveting story!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. kd0602 says:

    That trusty notebook…the sign of a writer! Your posts always entertain and make me think.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Living a writerly life! I love that you jotted down his words, and that it was a source of conversation. I’m an eternal optimist, so I’m going with him majorly bettering himself and his situation three times. You kept me reading from the start to the end!

    Liked by 1 person

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