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Tuesday, July 06, 2004



After I left the library Saturday, I hiked across town to find the LDS chapel, finally found it, and spent what remained of the night in a different park.
I showed up at church unshaven, unwashed, and in dirty clothes, which is not what I would preferred, but it was important for me to be there. The bishop of the Lincoln First Ward and offered the use of the men's changing room so I could shower and called his wife, and she brought what I needed to clean up, except for changing clothes. I attended the Lincoln Second Ward's sacrament meeting, which was a fast and testimony meeting, and then, since scheduled overlapped, the meetings of the First ward. I was invited by one of the sister missionaries into the Gospel principles (investigator's) class, which was on the priesthood, and then in priesthood meeting, the assigned lesson was intended to have an independence day theme, but the instructor couldn't find any scriptures on the constitution (??!!) so switched to a Sabbath day lesson. One of the more useful suggestions I have heard was that of one brother who has a "Sunday box" with activities, and suggestions for activities, so when his children get home from church and claim "I'm bored!" He only has to say "Get out the Sunday box". Afterwards, the bishop asked if I had a place to stay, and I said I needed someplace legal, safe, dry, and free. He had one of the members give me a ride dowtown to the "People's City Mission", a homeless shelter. Their rules included one night free stay, after which a person would have to work at various task such as the kitchen, grounds, laundry, and cleaning up the dorms. No drugs, no alcohol allowed. I didn't stretch myself to mingle or socialize: I usually try to follow the rules and keep out of trouble. I did volunteer to wash pots in the kitchen. They changed the schedule to allow those who wanted to, to see some of the fireworks displays. I skipped that, since I've already seen several and wanted more sleep.
I got up, had breakfast, and then headed to the UNL campus police to get my backpack. It took them some 20 minutes of searching to find it. It had been kept outside (during the rain) although in a plastic bag. After I collected it, I heeded east, and made it to a few miles outside of Eagle, NE; was offered a ride the rest of the way, which I accepted, and then went another mile or so before I settled down. It had been rainy most of the day, so I didn't get a chance to dry things out, and it rained again in the middle of the night.
In the morning I headed east again, along Highway 34, and made some 10 miles; not much rain, but the whole day has been cloudy. A Cass County Sheriff's deputy stopped to make the usual inquiries, and before long another driver offered me a ride as far as the junction, another couple of mile. He would have taken me farther, but I wanted to go through Louisville. I started along that road, and I had just gotten up from a rest break when another Cass County Sheriff's deputy stopped. After a search, she offered me a ride into Plattsmouth and to the library so I could make this report. There is a lot of heavy truck traffic along Highway 50, so apparently they were concerned for my safety. Since I make it a policy to cooperate with law enforcement, it was an offer it would not have been wise to refuse, but the deputy was reasonably friendly, and said I was more than polite. So, I've been brought along, at speed, faster than I intended to go. It's been wet for some 5 days, so everything is starting to mildew and smells like it; I need a sunny day and a chance to dry out.
The terrain this side of Lincoln has been rolling hills; which from my point of view means up one hill and down another. There has been the usual mix of corn, some soybeans, a few cattle and horses, a few hayfields, and a few other crops that I wouldn't recognize if they walked up and introduced themselves.
If I pushed it, I could reach Glenwood, Iowa, by tonight, but I'm not sure how hard I want to push. In any case, I hope to post from there tomorrow or the next day.
For the past few days, I've been brooding somewhat about old and chronic troubles. I grew up being called a "good for nothing lazy shirk". That wouldn't be an insurmountable problem, but there are few things more useless than a half-trained mathematician, computer programmer, or other technical type. The jobs I've been able to get don't come close to satisfying those interests, and I haven't been willing to look for or pursue those are unlikely to. So, even though I don't fully believe the old labels, they tend to follow me around, rather like the moldy smell coming from my backpack. Walking down the highway isn't particularly useful, and I've been trying to think what else, besides keeping this journal, I can do.
I used to do a lot of reading in the university library on mathematics and related areas, and I've accumulated a bunch of ideas that I'm going to try to organize into lessons. Whether anyone pays attention or not, I can't say, but it's something more to try.

I had three copies of this post, and I seem to have deleted the one that had the comment attached. The author mentioned that he was reminded of a Gary Larson cartoon, with one panel, "What you say" with the character addressing his dog, and the panel, other "what he hears"..."blah, blah Ginger" "blah, blah Ginger".
I hope the author does not mean to suggest that the label I mentioned is correct! Few adults take kindly to those who treat them as a misbehaving child or pet, and in any case, "blah, blah verbal SLAP!" "blah blah verbal SLAP!" is seldom taken as kindness, whatever the motives of the slapper. Whether the rest of the blah, blah is understood or not, the SLAP! does tend to stick in the memory.
So - what do you think the cartoon was really about?

The comment was meant to say "What we hear is not always what message was sent." The man was telling his dog "bad dog Ginger" "naughty dog Ginger". The dog was only hearing her name. The rest was noise. The dog heard what was most important to her.

As humans - do we hear what is said, or what we want to hear?
Very few of us, it seems, perceive everything that is said to us. We all have filters of some kind, especially in casual conversation.

I recall reading about a sociology experiment
Subject: "How are you?"
Experimenter "Terrible, my grandmother just died".
Subject: "Oh, that's nice".

Of course, that wasn't the most common response, but it did happen. Somtimes we go through the motions of greeting without paying any attention to what is said.

It's a wearisome business trying to track all the ways miscommunication can happen, between our own blinders and those of other people. I'm sure marriage counselors and the like could recount many stories of how partners "hear" things which are not said, and not even intended, in the course of marital arguments, as well as things that are said and not heard, as well as a complete catalogue of other mistakes and miscues.

That having been said, I hate arguing with people, and I have a variety of techniques for avoiding it. I find they work quite well for people who are rational and considerate, and I do my best to be rational and considerate myself. Not everyone else does, at least not all the time, and by preference I avoid discussions with the prickly and contentious.

In addition, what we perceive is shaped by what we expect. If there is a history of argument between two people,
And the miscommunication can go both ways. Personally, I try to pay attention, Miscommunication goes both ways, it seems.
Occasionally it happens in casual conversation, We all have filters of some kind, and most people have some degree convenient hearing
Interesting blog...a good read.

A Cassville Heritage Association member, Cassville, Georgia
Bartow County Genealogy
Interesting blog. I'm always interested in anything to do with the civil war, especially in the area of Bartow County, Georgia. I'm an active member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV).

SCV member
Warren Akin
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