Wah Wah Wah

Boyleing Points
Typography

In honor of recent conversations I’ve had, I’m here to miscommunicate. Man, English is so overrated.

I haven’t been tested, but I’m pretty sure I’m a Charlie Brown adult. When some people talk to me, I just hear wah-wah-wah-wah.

Starting with plumbers. Or electricians. And definitely doctors. Once they drop a little jargon or specialized language on me, it’s all wah-wah-wah for me.

I was chatting with a plumber the other day and I’m someone who can’t tell a house trap from a speed trap, a grease trap from a mouse trap. I can wrench my back, but I can’t actually use a wrench. The plumber tried to educate me.

He patiently explained things to me like I was a second grader, but he overshot. If only he had gone two grades lower.

Until I went dark and slipped into wah-wah-wah, I learned methane gas from the sewer can get into your house and stink up the joint unless you have a trap that has water in it. But then he said P trap which has nothing to do with pee, but I was stuck on pee and didn’t catch the rest of his lesson. As he’s talking, I’m stuck wondering why they would confuse things and call something a P trap which has nothing to do with pee or poop.

He spent a good long while telling me about pipes could be going this way or that and sometimes this happens or that happens and he remembers one time his brother-in-law’s cousin’s neighbor had a pipe and….wah-wah-wah.

Finally, I just asked what I always ask: can you fix it?

I don’t want to learn; I just want to be happy.

But here’s the thing that occurred to me the other day. It’s not just specialists who lose me. There’s a lot of people who make my brain shut down.

And it happens all the time. Some guy will be wholly articulate, annunciate every syllable, use perfect syntax ¬– but I walk away not having a clue what he just said. There are certain humans who have the talent to make your mind go numb. If you’re lucky, your mind moves past numbness and wanders to a nice, understandable place.

See, the thing is, initially, you’re fooled by these droners. The person is definitely using words in the English language. It sounds familiar. But you’re soon checking out. You might first glance around to see if others are still listening, if the others seem to be understanding. You might think you’re listening to an Einstein and it’s because of your own limitations you can’t make sense of what’s being said.

But it’s them, not you! Some people speak in puzzles, and you just can’t crack ‘em. I can sometimes remember how they said something but not what they said.

Some guy will say:  I operated my Chevy Traverse on the northernmost east-west thoroughfare heading west on the Rockaway peninsula on the day before yesterday. 

The guy could’ve said, I drove on Beach Channel Drive on Tuesday.

It’s not all terrible getting lost in a word salad. When I stop listening, I get to play a favorite movie clip in my head from Cool Hand Luke: What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate.

If I lost you ten paragraphs ago, I hope you had a pleasant wah-wah-wah.

 By Kevin Boyle

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