Today’s random interaction with a work colleague; he passed by my desk on his way out the door and innocently enough in a humorous tone asked: ‘behaving yourself?’ to which I responded ‘I have done my best so far.’ To which he paused mid-stride, turned to me and replied ‘Good girl.’ Time stopped for the briefest moment as I caught myself from replying ‘yes Sir’, his words had me weak at the knees; a random moment with a colleague where we were both speaking another language… or possibly not. Luckily he missed the depth of my blush.
This highlighted to me how subjective life is, how we have to be careful what words we choose to communicate with an Other.
If we choose nominalisations that have different (often emotive) meanings to every individual we can end up sounding like a politician with each person that has heard the conversation hearing something different because they associate different values to and experience the word differently (like ‘education’ as a stand alone with no further context). Although this will always happen to some degree simply because life is subjective.
It also reminded me of autopilot or default screen saver ‘syndrome’ where commonly used phrases (or behaviours) drop out of your mouth out of context. For example, in the scenario above, I happen to know this colleague has two young daughters at home. The phrase he used is very liked to be commonly used by him in the context of his family but transposes to the workplace a little incongruently. If I had responded ‘yes Sir’, a phrase becoming common to me with in the context of a D/s relationship, it may have sounded odd, or perhaps an attempt at humour… (A similar thing happens in Tango, when either the lead dancer or follow goes into autopilot mode they have left the context of the dance, left the present moment and killed the improvisation.)
Anyway, what all this made me realise is that I want to be more ‘in the moment’ during my day. I want to be clearer in my communication. To do that I need to be more present and receptive to those I am engaged with in conversation. Language is a powerful tool and I want to further enrich my toolbox with a deeper vocabulary – just call me the word whore.