Communication can be hard sometimes. Nuances and assumptions can lead to complete confusion. Just ask Heather Swanson. She told her tale of a communication breakdown during an Ex Fabula’s “Water” StorySlam event in Milwaukee on February 17, 2018.
Thank you. OK. So have you found yourself in a conversation with another person where you’re saying the exact same word and you think you mean the exact same thing only to find out in the very near future that you didn’t mean the same thing at all?
Yeah. Well, so the first time I visited this quaint town in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, it was to see my sister, who had just moved there. And she was telling me, “You’re going to love this town. It’s got this cute lake and it’s got a trail that goes around it. And you are going to love to run around it.” And I’m like, “OK. Yeah. Cool.” I just started running not long ago. I’m down with that.
So, I got to her house on Friday night and I was telling her, “Yeah, you know what I think I will get up tomorrow morning and run around the lake.” And she’s like, “Oh that’s going to be great. It’s going to be so much fun and it’s only a couple miles from our house.” So I got up in the morning and I ran down to the lake and it felt like more than a of couple miles to get there. But, I was feeling good. It was a beautiful summer morning. But it was also a foggy summer morning, so I couldn’t see the lake.
But I started off on the trail and I was running like a gazelle. And I was running…
And I was running…
And I was running less and less like a gazelle at this point and more and more like the creature from The Hobbit.
And I had run out of water a while ago and I was starting to talk to myself like, “My God, how big is this cute lake?!” I was considering swimming across the lake. I had no idea how far I had gone because I didn’t bring a watch or my phone because usually I don’t run long enough to need a watch or a phone. All I knew was that this was the furthest I had ever run in my entire life at this point.
And at that point the fog had started to rise off the lake and I had this beautiful view of the lake. To my right, there was this gigantic bay. To my left, I could see all the way across the length of the lake and it was at this moment I realized, “This is a big f—ing lake.” And I had no idea if I should turn around and go back the direction that I came from or keep going. I was hoping I was halfway around.
I saw this family up ahead a little ways playing Baggo so I hobbled my way up there on this unsuspecting family and I could barely talk. My mouth was so dry. I was so thirsty and I’m like (winded and gasping for air), “Excuse me, I’m sorry but could you tell me how big this lake is?” And they’re like, “Oh, it’s 20, 21 miles. Where did you start?” I kind of grunted and pointed in that direction and they’re like, “Oh great news you’re a little more than half way around.” Like, “Yeah that’s, that’s great news. Thank you.”
So nevertheless, I persisted.
And six hours and nearly 32 miles later, I made it back to my sister’s house and she’s like, “Where in the hell have you been?!”
I said, “I told you I was running around the lake!” And she’s like, “Are you f—ing nuts?” And I said, “You told me I would enjoy running around the lake. In fact you said it would be fun.” And at this point I could barely walk. So I’m like, “I did not enjoy running around the lake and it was not fun.”
And she’s like, “You ran around the lake?”
“Yeah, I ran AROOOUUUND the lake as you suggested.”
She’s like, “Heather. No, I didn’t mean run AROOOUUUND the lake. I meant run around the lake.”
Thank you very much.
Song: “Run Like An Antelope (6/24/94)” by Phish