Dear words, how I’ve missed you! Such beautiful vowels and an amazing amount of letters in general, there’s something about you I cannot resist. If there’s anything in life I am truly passionate about, which I promise will last forever and a day, then it’s you guys. The ability to express, to enjoy a good rant, to cry out in despair, to laugh and joke around, it’s addictive in a way where I’m feeling okay to not go into a 12-step program or something like that. Because let’s face it, that would be pretty useless anyways? I love you guys like a proper drug addict loves heroin. Except that my particular drug of choice is slightly less harmful to my body or even my mind. No offence, dear heroin-user. Feel free to pump that junk into your veins. From one addict to another: no judgement here!
It’s strange though, sometimes you don’t know what to say. And other times, it feels like you have all the right arguments in place, but the other person just isn’t hearing you. Or maybe they do hear what you’re saying, they’re just not listening. Because you’re coming from two different perspectives and no matter what, there’s nothing congruent about the two. That happens. Sometimes it sucks a little, sometimes it sucks a lot. Because even though you speak the same language, in essence at least, it’s like the two dialects basically show to the world that the compatibility that should’ve been there in theory, actually masks a massive difference in reality.
Let’s give a small example: the interesting communication saga of my malfunctioning MacBook. Holy crap, I have been into the great den of iniquity when it comes to different Apple Support people! To explain the problem: I bought a new MacBook over the summer. A beautiful, glistening, shiny thing that cost a pretty penny. But baby, I love my technology. I was 7 when I had my first laptop – 11 when I created my first email address. So considering that little fact about me, I was happy to make the purchase. Not in the least because I’ve been slowly descending into the Apple world for quite some time now. I’ve always been a satisfied customer – I saw no immediate reason for that to change.
However, that was before this truly illuminating & oh-so-delightful experience. Now, I’m not going to go into the technical details – they’re boring anyways – but instead, I’ll give you some insightful numbers:
- 10: the number of different people from Apple Support I’ve talked to. 5 via telephone throughout 3 different calls. 1 via chat. 4 at the Genius Bar on 4 different occasions.
- 11: the number of hours I lost talking to Apple Support. I’ve easily spent 4 on the phone, truly a joy to experience. Half an hour via chat – don’t recommend it. And 6,5 hours travelling to/from & spending time at the Genius Bar. Kind of exhausting. Also, they don’t like it when, in the absence of chairs, you sit on their completely empty tables. You want to get their attention? Do that, trust me. Potentially let your legs swing back and forth as well. They’re bound to get to you faster!
- 3: the number of items they replaced for me for free. A new iPad mini – which wasn’t the problem. A new lead – which wasn’t the problem either. A new MacBook – which was the problem all along, but no one believed me on that, because “I’d only just bought it?!” Oh the irony…
- 1: the number of females I spoke to working at Apple Support. She also, conveniently, turned out to be the one and only person who listened to my entire story and then figured out it must have been the MacBook all along. Us women, blonde or with purple hair, we understand one another, you know?
Communication. It can break down sometimes. Especially when people don’t actually listen to one other. Especially when one party has already decided the exact turn of events and isn’t willing to hear about a different version. It doesn’t matter if it’s a technician at a desk, or someone who promised one thing, but delivered something else entirely. I guess that’s the one thing I don’t like about words. The ability to misunderstand them. Or the way people abuse them. Or how there’s so much left to say, but you know whatever you’d say would land on deaf ears. And that’s hard. Because not only does it hurt, but knowing words are pointless, you are strangling your own voice. You are willingly – or not so willingly – pushing yourself to remember that you will not be heard even if you tried. Or at least that’s what you tell yourself, as anything else is too scary to contemplate.
The exception to this though, is usually that group of people who’ve always got your back. Your friends. Somehow, they usually just get you. Bizarrely, words sometimes aren’t even necessary. A look can say everything you’ll need to know. A laugh will tell you all you’d want to hear. And a gesture will mean the world. I used to have this thing with one of my best friends: we spent so much time together on like a daily basis, we would sometimes utter the exact same thing at the exact same moment. If it wasn’t so funny, it’d be seriously freaky! But yeah, it usually just made us laugh even harder :-).
It’s different when you’re living farther away than before. Like, when you’re living in London and most of your friends are back home, in Belgium. You can’t just get away with the same ways of communication as before. Not always, anyways. But somehow it also becomes much richer. Because given the distance, communication requires more effort. So every word means so much more. And every joke is treated with more laughter. And everything you share just feels so much more precious. Maybe it’s different for everyone, I wouldn’t really know. Maybe I just got really lucky with my friends? Well, regardless of whether I did or not, I certainly feel like I did. So… Thanks.