The newest computer can merely compound, at speed, the oldest problem in the relations between human beings, and in the end the communicator will be confronted with the old problem, of what to say and how to say it.
~ Edward R. Murrow
Breakfast: Special K
TONIGHT on TV
NO Six Feet Under ???
What gives here?????
I guess I'll have to watch
--- TODAY ON DVD ---
TODAY on RADIO
CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?
31 May 2004
I am not the great communicator. I dont think there is anyone who knows me who will argue with me on that point.
In person, I get tongue tied and I cant get out the words that I intend to say, especially when it's something important. Which is not to mean that I am incapable of speech. Its just that in trying to impart bits of important information, or express something that is important to me, I just dont seem to do it well--which is why writing has become such a wonderful tool for me.
When the kids were growing up, youd swear sometimes that I never spoke. Invariably bits of important information never reached anybodys ears. There was a time when I resorted to putting out family newsletters just to make sure that everyone had a fighting chance to get all of the important bits of information--like when we were going on vacation, what time dinner was, etc.
Lately, however, Im wondering if my written communications are also ineffective. Maybe its just that they are produced in such a volume that people dont bother to read them. I really think that when it comes to basic information, requests, etc., I am fairly clear in what I write.
But take my recent very frustrating interaction with the SPCA.
No, we still dont have a dog. To their credit, the SPCA does a more thorough background check than the Department of Homeland Security. The future of these dogs, many of whom have not had the best of pasts, is very important to these dedicated volunteers. I understand and appreciate that.
My dealings with the SPCA began when I sent an e-mail to the contact person for the dog, asking if the dog was still available for adoption. I received a reply that yes, she was. So far we were communicating well.
I made arrangements to meet the dog and though there were adjustments to be made as to when and where, these were logical changes and we still seemed to be communicating.
The dog had kennel cough and the woman thought she would hold her for a week until shed lost the cough and until she had been spayed. When I left her, I said that I would contact her that night (after conferring with Walt and showing him the pictures) and let her know if we wanted to take the dog.
Up to this point things were still going well and we were still communicating.
I checked with Walt, he agreed we could get the dog and I sent a note (it is, she tells me, more efficient to reach her by e-mail, so we did this all without telephone calls) saying that yes, we wanted the dog. I get an e-mail from her:
So far so good. I responded:
And then we waited around all day for someone to call or stop by, but did not hear from anybody. Late in the afternoon, I wrote:
I expected to have a reply when we returned from the show, but there was nothing, so I sent another note:
Again we waited, and again there was no contact from the SPCA. At this point I called and got a telephone message saying that the best way to reach her was by e-mail, but I also left a message saying that we would be home until 7 p.m., when we had to leave for the campus. When I got home there was this message, which was sent at 8 p.m.:
This was sent at 8 p.m. after THREE messages saying I would be reviewing a show in the evening and would not be home after 7 p.m. I sent a message saying that we would just plan to come to PETCO on Saturday and pick her up and received the message:
I have always known that I don't always communicate clearly in person, but apparently I have also lost the ability to communicate clearly in writing as well.
I've decided to put it off for a week, since she's going in to be spayed on Friday and since I have work to get done today. I'd like to bring her here on a day when I can spend a lot of time with her. I just hope that the SPCA does not take my lack of response as a sign that I'm no longer interested!
Stay tuned for the continuing saga!