Me: “Is it bad that the high point of my day was having hot, delicious fresh McDonald french fries at WalMart while I waited for the auto department to change the oil in the van?”

Kirsten Jackson

Joe: “What kind of oil did they use?”

Me: “Umm….I have no idea.”

Joe: “They’re suppose to tell you.”

Me: “Really?”

Joe: “Wasn’t there a sticker posted on the window?”

Me: “Joe! There was no drive-in window! It was the McDonald’s at WalMart!”

Looking back I know I seem very blond and Joe’s question makes complete sense. Of course he was referring to what kind of oil the auto department at WalMart put in our vehicle. No, he did not care what kind of oil McDonald’s used to cook my hot, fresh, delicious french fries.

We differed in our response to the mammoth conversation fail, too. I dissolved in peals of laughter with tears running down my face while Joe just sat there staring at me in utter confusion.

Joe and I are both intelligent people with degrees who have lived with each other for almost 18 years and sometimes we can even send telepathic messages to each other so how could we botch a conversation that badly? Because words and sentences and paragraphs of discourse can be flawed. How often do we think we know exactly what a person is saying but after asking for clarification we find we were completely wrong?

Which makes me wonder….how often do we walk away without the clarification….horribly offended….never knowing we just heard it completely wrong….

More from Beliefnet and our partners