Listen to What I Mean

“I could use a new windshield,” my husband said to me, ” but I guess it’s not worth it.”

“No,” I agreed. “Not on a car as old as yours.  Well, actually your car isn’t old, it just has a lot of miles on it.  My car is three years older than yours and it would take me three more years to put the same mileage on mine that you have on yours now.”

“Your car is three years older than mine?  I thought yours is a 2007 and mine is a 2008.”

Flustered, I responded, “I said my car is a year older than yours but at the rate I drive, it would take me three years to put that much mileage on it.”

“Oh, is that what you said?” my husband chuckled.

“It might not have been what I said, but it’s what I meant, and you know what I meant.” I smiled sheepishly.

My husband chuckles a lot these days by what I say because there is such a mismatch between my words and the meaning I’m trying to convey. When we first moved here, I took my camera down to the bay and took some marvelous pictures of some of the sea birds. I came home excited, exclaiming, “I saw penguins at the beach! A whole bunch of them!”

“Penguins? Really?” My husband was grinning broadly, the skepticism heavy in his voice.

“Yes, penguins!” I said, a little testily.

“Penguins. You saw penguins in Virginia Beach. That’s truly amazing.” What I had mistakenly taken as skepticism was actually derision. Good natured, if derision can be that.

I’ll show him and wipe that little smirk off his face, I thought. “Yes, I saw penguins and I have the pictures to prove it.” I shoved the camera in his face. Who would have the last laugh now? I was thinking smugly. As we were both staring at my pictures of “penguins,” it dawned on me that we were looking at pelicans.

“Pelicans!” I said, rather too loudly. “I meant pelicans. You know I meant pelicans.” My husband continued to laugh, much longer than was warranted, if you ask me.

I don’t remember these lapses happening with such frequency when I was younger. Now they are a daily occurrence. My husband takes great pleasure in teasing me when what comes out of my mouth isn’t what is in my head. He needs to watch it, though, because pretty soon I’m going to start teasing him about having to tell him something over and over again because he can’t remember I told him a zillion times before. Oh, wait. I already do that.

About Coming East

I am a writer, wife, mother, and grandmother who thinks you're never too old until you're dead. My inspiration is Grandma Moses who became a successful artist in her late 70's. If I don't do something pretty soon, though, I'll have to find someone older for inspiration.
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33 Responses to Listen to What I Mean

  1. That is funny! If you were to tell anyone else, say a grocer checkout person, they’d be worried about you for sure!

    • Coming East says:

      Never thought of that, Country Wife, and I should because I talk to strangers. I don’t want anyone saying, “Look, here comes that batty old lady again.”

  2. pattisj says:

    You two were meant for each other. 🙂

  3. John Hric says:

    When we are younger we are much more efficient at forgetting we were confused before we even knew about it. Now as we mature we are much more comfortable about admitting things happen. Yup…. ah now what were we talking about ? Besides each year we know more words. As long as the first one or better two letters are the same it still counts….. and if it happens to end in ‘s’ well it is all good.

    • Coming East says:

      Hahaha, John. Loved your reply! Since we know so much more because we’ve lived longer, it’s hard to keep it all in our heads, and some of it just spills out. Unfortunately, it’s usually the important stuff. Like words.

  4. Amy says:

    …a daily occurrence 🙂 We have occurrences throughout the day here… 😀

  5. E.C. says:

    lol You & your husband sounds so much like me and my husband. We have lot’s of good laughs.
    Your post brings to mind one of my favorite quotes I learned back in the 70’s:
    “I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.”

  6. dorannrule says:

    Same thing here except I remember events differently than he remembers the same events. I am absolutely positive I am right and then when I can verify it, I am usually wrong. The smirk is permanent on his face.

  7. winsomebella says:

    Oh my, this sounds familiar…….if only I could remember exactly what it is that I think I am remembering.

  8. Robin says:

    LOL! Something else we have in common. With me it’s not just the wrong words coming out, but I frequently mispronounce words (usually the names of places). My husband must think it’s cute because he’s always encouraged that sort of thing. Or maybe he just wants a good laugh. 😀

  9. This happens at your house too??!! Same issues here — what I mean doesn’t necessarily come out right and hubby never seems to hear what I say. I’m trying to come up with a reasonable explanation for it other than we’re getting older….so far, I got nothing. 😉

  10. Dianna says:

    Similar things happen at our house….on an increasingly frequent basis….

  11. I am so glad I am not the only one to do this… and yes, I have heard ‘that’ laugh and it is usually accompanied with a ‘look’. After spending the past two and half years going to doctors for his memory loss and all the sympathy I have dished out, I do not handle ‘that’ laugh well…. I feel your pin…. I mean pain, really, I did mean pain. 🙂

  12. Al says:

    As you know we have the same hilarity over here. But it’s not from what Patty says but from what my ears hear (or don’t hear).

    As for the last point, remember this “if a husband says he will do something, he will! You don’t need to remind him every six months!”

  13. Nice that he can understand what you meant!

  14. Penguins vs. pelicans – hilarious! Using the ‘wrong’ word is better, I think, than having no word at all come to mind. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in the middle of saying something when a word just disappears – so I either just stand there with a dumb look on my face or end up saying ‘the watcha-ma-call-it’ or ‘the thing-a-ma-jig’ or ‘the you-know-the-thing-I-mean’ (fortunately, if it’s my husband I’m talking to, he DOES). I call those moments ‘brain farts’ and they are definitely becoming more regular with passing time.

  15. gaycarboys says:

    I’m having a chuckle at the Pelicans. Should you come to stay we can show you both penguins and pelicans in Sydney Harbour. As for the windscreen, if it’s a safety issue, do it, you’re worth it!. Love as always, Alan

    • Coming East says:

      Penguins and pelicans! I couldn’t get it wrong then, Alan. Rest assured about the windshield. It just has a few little pits in it. No cracks. Perfectly safe.

  16. I’m right there with ya sister! My most famous “penguin” story is when a friend and I came out of a movie theater in suburban Philadelphia, got into the car, she started the engine, the headlights came on to reveal little brown critters scampering into a hole in the ground. I flailed my arms in the air screaming at the top of my lungs in the crowded parking lot (windows were down of course), “Oh look, prairie dogs!!!” I entertained quite a few people that night…

    • Coming East says:

      A big fat LOL to you, Carol. I’m in good company! By the way, last week I ordered something from L.L. bean, and when the sales associate said her name was Carol, I got so tongue-tied, I could hardly tell her what I wanted. I knew it couldn’t be you, of course, but I was hoping…

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