Tuesday, April 30, 2013

need to work on listening skills

Apparently, Grandma and I had another misunderstanding, which I discovered only after taking a long, uphill hike toward her apartment building: we weren't meeting today. You see, Grandma was coming back from a family burial plot, and she had invited me, the other day, to go along with her. On the day she invited me, I'd understood her simply to be asking whether I'd care to join her for a quick outing in the countryside. But today, Grandma said she was coming back from her trip, which meant she had intended to spend several days out in the sticks. Had I properly understood that that was her intention, I'd have said no to her offer even faster. (I had originally said no because of YB-related remote work.)

Around 11AM today, and assuming Grandma's place was a mere walk across the street, I tried calling her to confirm directions to her place. No answer. (I now think she didn't answer because she was either in transit or was on the line with someone else.) So I went to Google Maps, did my best to look up Grandma's apartment, saw that a certain Building 101 wasn't far from the main street, and headed out around 11:45AM.

But as I got closer to the Building 101 I'd seen on the Google map, I saw that it was for a different apartment complex. Shit. Sagging, I turned my gaze uphill to the arduous trudge that lay ahead. In the distance, I saw Samsung Apartments, Buildings 108 and 109, so I assumed that Samsung Building 101 lay in that direction. The weather was sunny and cool, but I broke into a sweat as I dragged myself ever upward. Upon reaching Buildings 108 and 109, I looked for a map of the entire complex, but found only a map of Buildings 108 and 109. Great. So I brought out my phone and tried calling Grandma again.


"Hello! This is Kevin. We've got a noon meeting today, yes?"

"Oh, no! I'm just coming back from visiting the family plot. Last time I called you, I had invited you to come along. I'll call you later about meeting."

"Uh... OK."

With that, I started back downhill.

I really need to improve my listening-comp abilities. All that sweat for nothing, and I never found the apartment building.

In my defense, I'll say that I don't normally have this much trouble communicating with Korean folks. Grandma and I just aren't clicking, I think; it may be that we're on different discursive wavelengths, approaching conversation with contrasting ideas and intentions, and perhaps not hearing each other as well as we could. I'll just have to make extra sure, next time I talk with her, that I get absolutely every detail about a future meeting exactly clear and correct, reciting it all item by item if necessary.


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