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More blog posts some day . . . Dear readers,

If you don't expect miracles, then when they arrive, you'll be doubly surprised!

If I blogged regularly, that would be a miracle, but occasionally, those little writer's fingers of mine just want to record thoughts that aren't all about romance and murder and ways to overcome evil. So, here is one of my miscellaneous musings.  Maybe you'll like it, and maybe you won't. You're entitled to your opinion!

Just What is That Supposed to Mean?

My husband and I are opposite sun signs, and our moon signs aren’t supposed to be happy in each other’s company, and our tastes in most things differ (yes, they’re opposite), and you would think we couldn’t possibly get along, but we do. However, his communication style takes some getting used to. He uses pronouns without any antecedents.

Just on the off chance that you don’t remember what those are, pronouns replace nouns, and antecedents are the nouns that pronouns replace.  Example: “After Meg (the noun) spoke to her mother, she (the pronoun) abandoned her original plan.” Now, who abandoned the plan—Meg or her mother? Meg. That was kind of a tough one.

But what if you had not heard a noun, at least not in the last ten sentences, and someone said to you, “After they talked it over, she wished they hadn’t.” Who?  What? When? With my husband, if you want to know, you get to play twenty questions.

One day he said to me, “After you finish that, could you help me with this?” He was reading a book and I was crocheting the first of 200 medallions required to make a lacy top.  Okay, so call me crazy, but did he mean, “After you crochet all 200 medallions, could you help me build a spaceship?” (because his book was about outer space).  Or did he mean, “After you finish that one medallion, could you help me read the book?”

As it turned out, what he meant was, “Whenever you’re ready to put that down (preferably soon), could you please tell me if you know which constellation this is and then we’ll look it up on the internet to determine if we can see it from our yard?” But with him, you get the briefest, broad overview and then silence. You have to wait for the rest.

Picture yourself building a bench with my husband. You're standing around watching, and suddenly his instructions are, “Grab the other end and turn it around.” I was the kid (and still am) who overthinks everything, so my brain goes into overdrive, ideas tumbling like peanuts from a vending machine.

Questions occur in a rush, such as, “The other end of what?  The board he’s just put down on the ground? The board he’s now picking up? The crowbar he just tumbled to the ground near my feet? The wrecking bar he has wedged between the boards to maintain the spacing? Or the nut that goes on the bolt that bolts the bench boards to the frame—he’s got one of those sticking out of his pocket?

If he means the board he just picked up, does he want me to walk all the way around him to the other end of that board, and if that is the board he’s talking about, what does he mean by turn it around? Bring my end towards him? Or lift it up so that it goes end over end? Or simply flip it so the bottom side of the board becomes the top side? Or hold the board on its narrow edge, so that the narrow edge can be lined up against the framework for the back of the bench?”  You see how complicated this can get.

But if you love a guy, you take him as he comes, antecedents or no antecedents.  One day, I spoke to him about all this and he said, “If you don’t know what I’m talking about, just wait to find out.  I’ll explain it soon enough.” 

So the other day he was down on the floor with a sheet of brown paper, measuring and ticking things off, and drawing lines, and sitting back considering what he had drawn, and suddenly he said, “That should work. What do you think?”

And just to be as aggravating as he was being, I said nothing.  I waited. I waited. I waited. He never did clarify what he meant, and I never gave my opinion.  I just waited.

Over the years, he has accepted that I can’t read his mind, and unless he explains our joint projects in detail before we begin them, I’ll probably misinterpret his antecedent-less instructions. We’ve worked out quite a few things, but the other day—the brown paper? I may never know what he was doing, or if he really wanted my opinion. And that’s fine with me. And it seemed fine with him as well.

Nebulous pronouns can simply remain a cosmic mystery. There’s no harm in that. Plenty of other nebula available. We aren’t going to run out.

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