Thursday, 2 March 2006

Communication Breakdown (it's always the same)

Last weekend Jo was Skyping her parents. Reliability still suffers a lot with their beta video conferencing features, but it's great to see the pictures; it's the closest thing we can have to actually being there with them, and as I've often said I wouldn't mind at all if more relatives and friends move their bums a bit and install Skype.
Anyway, some time during the call, while reminiscing on the Caribbean adventures they just came back from, Jo's parents asked to tell me something. I was surprised, because I don't get to have much in the way of proper communication with Jo's family other than Jo's sister who is exceptional in pretty much every regard one can think of. When we do converse there are obvious interpretation problems: heavy accents on both sides that need tackling (interestingly enough, Jo does not have their accent when she talks to me, but some of it creeps back when she talks to them), plus the use of British English and very British phrases versus my obvious inclination towards American English (while Uri would love the "love" thrown in at the end of each sentence, I'm still puzzled every time they talk about having tea - their way of saying dinner). The results of these linguistic problems have already been documented: we have a video in which Anthony asks me if I want to play the Xbox and I answer by showing off the biscuit I was holding and saying that I am quite full.
So to clear one misunderstanding out of the way before we continue with the Skype story, I have no problems with Jo mother's cooking; I do have a problem with English food. This is NOT the same thing, even though it might seem so to the casual reader who likes to take what I write out of context.
Anyway, the thing they wanted to tell me during that Skype call I mentioned above but neglected since was that they saw plenty of cricket pitches being built by the Chinese in the Caribbeans.
Now, I was never that into sports. I had my era of interest in motorcycle racing and car racing, and we do go to watch the Australian Open, but overall my prime time sport interest is football. Ce tu.
Cricket, on the other hand, is as close to my heart as John Howard or George Bush are. Asking me a cricket related question would be akin to asking me whether I like Sydney Sheldon's latest novel or whether I enjoyed watching the latest episode of the Bald and the Beautiful. In fact, while we were in England six or so months ago, the Ashes cricket series was taking place there between Australia and England, and if one thing was clear was that Jo and I were the least interested living organisms in the former greater British Empire when it came to that tournament.
Which explains why I cannot put this out of my head and why I'm writing this blogentry now.
Now usually I try to avoid offending specific people in my blog (note the rather meagre mentioning my current place of work gets despite the full stomach), and the reason I mention this incident here is because I do not consider this obvious lack of familiarity with the Moshe subject matter and what I stand for to be my in-laws' fault but rather mine. I am the one that is often quoted saying that most of this world's problems, most of the problems we face at work, and most of the problems that pop up in relationships - fuck, why say most, it's virtually all - pop up because of the lack of proper communication. Simply talking straight to one another can do wonders, which is one of the reasons I enjoy blogging and I think blogging is good despite its one-sided-ness and despite its other obvious shortcomings.
The solution to the problem is obviously to talk to my new family more. Sounds simple, but it's not that simple: I can talk to Jo's sister for hours, we're both the type that likes to talk when someone else is listening, even if we are very different people. But with Jo's parents I never really got to talk much, and if I start talking to them over the phone en masse it would feel very weird; for as much as communication is good, the means of communication is just as important, and so far there is no replacement for the good old fashioned face to face. Think about it: If we can hardly understand one another talking face to face, how can we expect to get anywhere in Skype or over the phone?
Therefore, the fact the next time we we will be seeing one another would be at Xmess time (probably) is a major bonus: If ever there is a time for talking and communicating, this is it. Isn't that what Xmess is supposed to be all about?
This message was brought to you by the Anti consumerism association for a Merry Xmess, also known as Amex.

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