Me: “But that’s not what I meant.”
AM: “Well that’s what I heard.”
It’s hard to argue with either side. That doesn’t stop us giving it a shot. I know what I meant, but I can’t help it if he heard something else. He can’t help it if he heard something else and took from that a different understanding of the conversation. It’s like getting angry at someone who speaks French but not Spanish. It’s still massively frustrating.
Recently I spent three or four days at my parents’ house where everything is tidy, clean, organised and objects have a defined place to live. This suits my OCD tendencies.
Me (in female): “Ah, it was so nice at my parents’ where everything was clean and tidy!”
My meaning: “It actually was very pleasant to walk on a hoovered floor without ending up with sand on my soles that I then have to brush off before I get into bed. I should really do more to keep this place tidier. Because I do love our little apartment.”
AM’s translation (in male): “Why haven’t you done the cleaning while I was away? I hate living here. It’s all your fault and I expect you to fix it immediately.”
The morning after I returned he headed off at 8am to train with his surfboat team. He brought me a cup of tea as I was still in bed. I love him for this. Inspired by the sunshine I got up and cleaned the entire apartment from top to bottom including washing the cushion covers, bleaching the teapot and airing out the duvet. By the time he came back I was sat on the terrace with brioche and tea feeling emotionally cleansed.
AM, guiltily: “Sorry I wasn’t here to help you clean!”
Me, calmly and without a hint of anger: “That’s okay, I know you didn’t have time while you were away and I don’t want you to stop doing the things you love.”
AM, relieved but still unsure if he’s understood: “Oh – I thought you were pissed off and I was in trouble for not doing it. Because of what you said about your parents’ house.”
Me, baffled: “huh?”
Sigh. Come on Google Translate – when are you going to develop a male/female language option?