The 30 Days Project: Day 24

Do you ever find yourself having trouble communicating?

I had several phone calls to make today on a number of business matters. Sometimes I dread that kind of thing, being an introvert and all. (I’m not just saying that either — I took a test, and I’m more introverted than 90% of the population!) And the experience can vary greatly — sometimes the interactions are pleasant and stress-free, and other times it’s like pulling teeth. I had a mixture of experiences today. I had a very pleasant conversation with a staff member at the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology confirming that I have permission to use some of their researchers’ sound files as part of an electronic composition (stay tuned! 😀 ). But there was a bit of frustration involved in making an appointment for an eye exam for McDoc. The nice lady kept offering days and times that wouldn’t work, such as 9 a.m. on a morning when McDoc is getting off of the night shift. I started to explain his work schedule to her, thinking it would make it easier for her to offer a time that would work, so I could stop taking up her time. “I don’t need to hear all that,” she replied, at which point I felt like telling her to (if you’ll pardon my French) go piss up a rope, but I’m happy to say I resisted that temptation; I’m sure her job is far more aggravating than I care to imagine, so I couldn’t take anything she said personally.

It got me thinking about communication in general. It’s such a tricky thing; how many times do people talk past each other, misunderstand each other, take offense where none was intended, and on and on. McDoc and I have argued about petty little things on plenty of occasions… and the craziest part of it is, we often come to find that we don’t really disagree all that significantly, but we just expressed things in different ways.

For me a lot of this boils down to our mistaken notion that we’re separate from others — alienated, on our own, hung out to dry, etc. Therefore we have to be on the defensive at all times. Doesn’t help us play nicely with others, though!

So today’s piece, for flute, clarinet, percussion and piano, is about communication misfirings. The instruments interrupt, “talk past,” ignore or shout each other down. The clarinet, having initiated the (attempt at a) conversation, nearly gives up, but comes back and tries again toward the end, when at last a bit of teamwork materializes. 🙂

Click play to listen:

Thanks for listening!

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