What they really meant

It isn’t every day someone finds a magic lamp. One wish later, and I can hear what people actually mean. It’ll be nice to hear what my coworkers actually think of me after all these years.

I stroll confidently through the cubes and wave hi to my boss.

“Morning Susan.” I call cheerfully.

“I’m acknowledging your standard greeting with a standard response.” She calls back. I smile and move into the gowning area to put on my lab coat.

“Morning Teresa.” I call to the coworker whose running an experiment on the next bench over.

“I’m sounding mildly disinterested and distracted because I really don’t like talking to people all that much and am trying not to attract too much attention, but I am trying to add in enough positivity so you don’t think I’m being rude to you in so I can continue to foster productive work relationships and thereby further both my career and personal life.” Wow, and all she probably really said was ‘hi’.

Around lunch time I sat down with a co-worker Samantha and discussed politics over some sandwhiches.

“I’m voicing an opinion I feel strongly about because my social group stigmatizes anyone with the opposite opinion and I’m trying to fit in.” Samantha tells me.

“That’s interesting, when did you hear about this.” I asked.

“From my friend.” She replied. Huh, that was probably what she actually said.

“So what do you think of the president’s new economic decision?”

“I’m voicing an opinion I feel strongly about because my social group stigmatizes anyone with the opposite opinion and I’m trying to fit it. Also I love chicken.” I wondered how many political questions I could ask and get this same answer? This was going to make the elections so much more interesting. Also, I wondered if the chicken comment was about the food or the economic policy.

Having completed an interesting day of talking to coworkers it surprised me to know it actually made conversations a lot easier. When I arrive home and say hello to my husband whose watching to TV he responds.

“Hello person of significant emotional value to me who I am attempting to acknowledge enough that she feels valued but not so much that she feels the need to start a conversation.” I make my way to the study to find a good book and reflect that if he said that whenever he wanted alone time we’d probably have way less fights.

I periodically checked in with him every half hour to see if he was ready for me. His responses were the same. He wanted alone time but wanted to acknowledge me, until I finally heard.

“I think I’m done watching TV and wish the girl I love would just come over here so we could spend some time together.” His comment was made all the sweeter by the fact that I knew he meant it.

I eagerly came back in, and when I sit down he tells me.

“I love you.”

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