The Wild Case Of The Foot-In-Fingers Disease

The whole problem is that I am totally misunderstood when I email people.

by Lura Langenback

© 02/25/03

Well, I did it again. Another email on a list that sounded for all the world like a total idiot writing something to someone that had no clue. Did that make sense? Probably not. I have what must be a new disease. Foot-in-fingers disease. It's more or less an off-shoot of the ever popular foot-in-mouth disease that I have in abundance. You know what that is, right? Yep, I saw that lightbulb come on. Absolutely guaranteed to say or do the wrong thing at the right moment. That's when the very person/persons that least needed to hear what I had to say, would be right behind me.

And now it has flowed right into my computer keyboard, just as pretty as you please. It's more commonly called "being misunderstood." No matter what I write, to whom I write it, on whatever subject, I can count on someone misunderstanding what I had in mind when I wrote what I wrote, exactly the way I wrote it. Got that? Hmm. Confusing? I have been accused of confusing the cat so it's not new to me.

What's really bad is when I put my fingers on the wrong keys. It turns out something like yjord. You get the picture. Yes, I can hear it now. PROOF READ! (Spellchecker? What's that?) Of course I do, that is, if the kids don't call me away to check their homework or the food on the stove isn't burning. Of course I do. If the dog doesn't want out or the cat isn't clawing on me to get her meal. Or the kitten isn't yeowling for I-have-no-idea why.

But that isn't really the point, is it? The whole problem is that I am totally misunderstood when I email people. They just do not get it. I write the way I talk. There is always an explanation that is clear and completely comprehensible to everyone! No doubt in my mind whatsoever that I got my point across. But someone still doesn't get it, no matter what I do. Clear as mud, they say. What is your point? they say. And some of them get mad! ME! When all I said was what I believed to be true. Well, and then I expanded on that, of course. Made me dizzy, they said. What does THAT mean???

The very first email list I was on, there was a person who, no matter what I wrote, did not get it. From that time on, I have been so misunderstood that I can not seem to write to an email list anymore. According to my daughter, I have been traumatized. Does that mean what I think it mwaons? Uh, means? Can't be. Visions of therapy and couches cross my mind. Of course not! It is simply a case of someone else not getting what I have to say.

The question is, what is the cure for this extremely rare disease? I know it's rare because I have never heard of anyone else ever having it before. Absolutely no one I know is that misunderstood online. Or are they?

To get serious for a moment, it is a very big problem. What most folks can't seem to realize is that there is no basis for comparison except themselves. For instance, when you talk to someone face to face, you see body language, eyes, facial expression. You have many things to go by. On the phone, you have voice inflection. However, online there is no real way to find out what the emotion is behind the written word except with description. For a writer, that isn't as hard as it is for the rest of the population. At least in theory. Regardless of who is behind the email, article, poem, short story or whatever else, you can be certain that someone will not see what it is you had to say in the way you had to say it. They will put their own interpretations on it. Then they will write you claiming that you said something that you had no intention of saying. And so it goes.

What is the solution? To be as clear as possible. To not get upset if someone does not understand exactly what is said. And for goodness sake, do not take it personally. Be kind to everyone. Do not flame. Be gentle.

Now my keyboard is beginning to scramble the letters so I can't click on the right ones. Do you think that could be my problem? Of course, when the cat walks on the keys.......Excuse me for a moment. I have to go let the dog out. But you can count on me coming back and proff reading very soon. Well, hopefully soon. There are those things in the dryer that have to be folded. I do have to call my Mom. Then, it only takes a moment to get the mail...unless, of course, I got something important to read. That could take more time. But I really will get back and proof- raed. Promise. Did you understand that? Good.