Two ladies were seated close together by the square table in the center of the sun-lighted visitors room. The one in the straight back chair had scooted her chair up next to her friend in the wheelchair and could be heard to say, as she patted her friend's arm reassuringly, "Now that you're receiving a little pill, that should help." Her friend replied, "That's what I've been saying, if I had a small pillow..."
The above snatch of conversation was overheard as I passed through the room where these two ladies were seated. This is a small example of how misperceptions, misunderstandings do occur between people for a variety of reasons. Sometimes the results are modestly amusing, sometimes they are rip roaring funny, sometimes they can create problems, even be disastrous in a relationship. I find that clarification by asking about intent, or asking for a repeat is always better than risking assumption, when in doubt as to what has been said.
I think equally important is not becoming angry with the person seeking the clarification, which they may even need to do more than once. I feel glad that they cared enough about what I've said to want to understand me.
When I overheard the above conversation, or hear others from time to time, I invariably think of Rana over at "Notes From An Eclectic Mind" where I first happened on some of her brief quotes from bits of conversations she overheard in various situations. Often as I go about my daily activities, in and out of various locations, I hear only part of what is said between others, sometimes out of context. Then, sometimes, I hear a mini-story, as I note Rana wrote about on 2/23/07 here.
Reading some of these bits and pieces she has posted from time to time, I concluded I shared her same wave length. Reminded me of when I was young and thought it was funny to switch from station to station on the old dial radios, resulting in formulating a phrase or sentence from quite unrelated words at each station. The result sometimes made my friends and I laugh uproariously. But then, guess I've always had a weird warped sense of humor and find something to laugh about in the most unusual places at times.
Of course, we also enjoyed reading road signs, a habit I sometimes find myself doing even today. Yes, many of the so-called funny ones, are really corny -- and that's not even describing the old Burma Shave road signs. Some signs are written intentionally to be funny, other's inadvertently so. Perhaps, I'm not alone and others can identify with unusual sources where they, too, find humor when least expected.