Archive for October, 2008

Time to write!

Thursday, October 16th, 2008

It’s been a few months since I’ve written anything here on my website blog due to my travels. Hopefully you’ve all been reading about my travels on the travelpod website.

I am in Calgary (I will no longer call Calgary home as a wanderer’s home is wherever he/she is) for the next while as I get my first book published and my second one written. I have a lot to do.

There is still much to do with the website. I have so much I want to add to the homework section and I have thousands of photos to go through and add to the website. I am hoping we can get the shopping cart working soon so that I can start selling these photos to any interested party. This means all of you, my readers and fellow journeyers.

My first story here is about a situation that occurred on my journey home from Europe. I am sitting in the waiting lounge at the gate in Frankfurt Airport just before we start boarding. The flight has been delayed for a scheduled 7h40 am departure. Most people have been here for at least 3 hours and are tired. I’ve already been up for over 24 hours.

From behind me I hear two men start screaming at each other. The one guy, almost right behind me, is telling the guy across the aisle that he is extremely insulting and that he should get up and leave the area. This other guy, talking quite loudly, is trying to get the first guy to understand that his comment about the guy looking like an “animal” was more of a compliment then an insult. Neither guy is really listening to the other and they continue screaming at each other. Something I have to mention is that the first guy had a bushy beard and scraggly hair. Both guys were also Canadians with a good understanding of the English language. So that was not the barrier to communication.

Finally the boarding call comes and the first guy and his friends leave. Slowly I overhear comments as to what the whole issue was about. I am unsure whether the two guys had been having a “normal” conversation before the screaming match or the second guy had overheard the conversation between the scraggly haired guy and his friends and then made his comment that started it all.

So the story goes that the second guy had said that the scraggly haired guy looked like “animal”, as in the Jim Henson character “animal” in the Muppets. This scraggly haired guy was, supposedly, a drummer in a band, just like the “animal” character in the Muppets.

Why did this supposedly “innocent” comment turn into a screaming match in front of 300 or so witnesses? It all comes down to communicating, listening, context, history, and interpretation. The guy who made the comment understood what he meant and failed in getting his message across to someone who probably did not know who the character “animal” was or, maybe, scraggly haired guy, in his tiredness, and/or the frustration of the days travel wasn’t ready or able to receive this innocent comment as intended.
This situation illustrates the major problems we have, as a society, in communicating with each other so that we can all live in harmony. First of all, language itself is very imprecise and confusing. In the past 2 months I have spoken with individuals from numerous “English” speaking countries (England, Australia, USA, South Africa, etc), in addition to individuals who have learned English as a second language, and there are numerous differences in how we use certain words or phrases to describe or identify things or situations.

Even within individual countries there are major differences in the usage of language. It is very noticeable in the USA between the East and West coast and also in China, but I have talked to individuals from smaller countries, such as Romania, and they have come to the same conclusion about their native languages.

How can we start avoiding these pitfalls of communication if we want to live in peace and harmony?

And with that comment, a perfect tie-in to this song and video that I first saw when I was in Belgium.

Sylver - One World One Dream

More later!

Think It! Feel It! Live It!