Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Why You Shouldn't Count 100% on Mind-Reading

Dear George,


As I grow older I find that I’m more prone to just do what I want to do, even though this can have negative effects.  An example occurred several weeks ago when one of  Katja’s friends invited us to a big party.  Katja was excited about it, but I only knew her friend a little bit, and I didn’t think I would know most of the other party-goers at all.  This, of course, made me excessively nervous. We talked back and forth, I remained stubborn, and finally Katja gave up and said she would go by herself.   


The next day I reminded Katja that I wouldn’t be going to the party, and we talked about it some more.  She said we could dance together, and it would be lots of fun. I succeeded in saying every wrong thing imaginable, and, by the end of the conversation, Katja wound up hollering at me, saying she didn’t even want me to go, that I should just stay home, and I could pack my suitcase and go and live somewhere else.  I knew she didn’t mean it, so I didn’t get perturbed.  Instead I thought to myself, that’s what I should do.  I should just pack my suitcase and move into my office.  But I knew I didn’t really mean that either.


The day of the party I chatted with a couple of friends. They encouraged me to go, giving lots of good reasons, not the least of which was that it would be supportive of Katja.  I thought about it.  We haven’t gone dancing for a long time, and that would be fun.  Plus I could write on my blog about going to the party.  That was the selling point.  I changed my mind and decided to go.


I came home, put on some nicer clothes, and started practicing dance steps in my head.  Katja arrived a bit later and did stuff downstairs while I worked upstairs on the computer. At 8:00 she called up and said goodbye.  Goodbye?  I went downstairs, and Katja said she’d be home around 10.  “Oh,” I said, “I told everybody that I would probably be going to the party with you.  We could do some dancing.”  “Oh,” Katja said matter-of-factly, “you would be too uncomfortable.  I’ll just go ahead by myself.”  And off she went.  I felt sort of mopy.  It was one of those prototypical marital exchanges where we started off at opposite poles and each of us shifted to the other’s position, passing one other in the middle, but not even knowing it.  I must admit I hadn’t actually said anything to Katja about my change of heart.  I sort of count on her to be a mind-reader.  She usually is, but it doesn’t always work perfectly.  I went to Skyline and had a five-way, then stopped at Graeters for some dark chocolate peanut clusters.  I was sound asleep when Katja got home.  She’d had a very good time.  She said the food was wonderful, and she’d enjoyed meeting her friend’s visiting family members.  I was happy it went well and didn’t say anything else.  I privately thought that maybe our marital communication has gotten too subtle and needs a little fine-tuning.  If I can remember, I intend to try harder next time.




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