Thursday, September 1, 2011

When My Obsession With Words Gets Me Into Trouble

Sometimes it is a good thing that I obssess over, analyze, and scrutinize words. (I agree, 'scrutinize' does account for both 'obssess over' and 'analyze' but using all three emphasizes the fact that it is a continuous action, often repeated in relation to the same phrase, as well as the fact that 'obssess over' and 'analyze' can be done exclusively as well as simultaniously.)

College papers for example. Writing novels for another.

Sometimes it is a less good thing. ('Less good' here meaning 'it can hinder, or in other ways complicate, my day to day life.)

Conversation with my supervisor at a work meeting:

Supervisor: I'm sorry. I didn't mean to volunteer you to help. I had a friend once who, when people asked "Is there anything we can do to help?" would say "What, do you have mouse in your pocket?"

Me: Asking if there is anything more we can do to help does not necisarily imply that we will.

Supervisor: What?

Me: You can ask if there is anything we can do to help without needing a mouse in your pocket because you aren't technically promising any help from either of us. You are only asking for information. *waits for chuckle recognizing the discrepency between what is commonly meant by a statement and what that statement actually entails*

Supervisor: *with an unsettled half smile* Analyzing my words huh?

Me: *while thinking, "No, just making conversation. Being more social as you suggested."* Sorry. I write too many essays. Did you get any coffee?

Lesson learned: Analyzing words and their meaning during small talk is not the best idea.

Do your writing habits ever spill out into your everyday life and make you wish they hadn't? Or do they slip in by way of snappy, flawless dialogue, complete with seemless beats and the ability to sense what people around you are thinking?


Anonymous said...

Love this post. On a really good day I get some snappy dialogue in a conversation with a colleague. It doesn't always make me popular, though. :-( Maybe my dialogue is too snarky, I don't know.

L. T. Host said...

Ah, Taryn....


This is why we are such good friends.

Keriann Greaney Martin said...

Ahaha. You're one of THOSE people, huh? But that's also why we love you :).