It’s weird to think some details that completely phase you-seemingly insignificant, barely memorable- can completely transfix someone else. Or something might utterly astonish you but not even be glanced at twice by the next person. It’s all about perspective, culture, past experiences and ultimately your preference.
That former paragraph may sound completely gobbledygook but let me explain. I was babysitting two adorable girls just before christmas and was showing them a few photos from my laptop, which I had brought with me. Whilst I was flicking through pictures, pointing out members of my family, I must have shown them an image of my mum and mentioned how she had possibly been ‘slightly tipsy’ (these were photos from her 50th so we’ll let her off!). I carried on flicking through the pictures, showing them snaps from my holiday, of my naughty dog and anything else that caught their attention. We watched a movie. They taught me a game called ‘Party party!’. I put them to bed.
At least a month later, I saw the younger sister again with her friend. She asked me when I was going to babysit again and then continued, excitedly telling her friend how I show them photos of my drunken mum?!?!
Hang on!! How on earth did she remember that? Was that the most memorable moment of her evening a month ago? And more worryingly, is that what the girls told Mummy and Daddy the next day when they asked if the babysitter was nice!?
“Yes! She was great! She showed us photos of her drunk mum!!” Both started giggling and then carried on with whatever they were doing.
I’ll be surprised if I get another babysitting job anytime soon…
This got me thinking: one story, one sentence, one word can be said in exactly the same manner to a group of people and each mind listening could translate it differently. It makes me feel completely helpless because although I have ultimate control over what I say, I really have no control whatsoever of what people hear. However careful and articulate I am with what comes out of my mouth, after that, the words are free to morph themselves into languages only the receiver can determine. These misinterpretations can be hilarious. But pretty shameful too, at times. Especially when the little rascals go and tell their friends, teachers and, God forbid, their parents that the babysitter and her family are a great load of drunken loonies.