Thursday, November 8, 2012

Patience may be a virtue, but I'd place Listening Carefully higher on the list...

Patience is a virtue. Keep it if you can. Seldom in a woman, never in a man.

I don’t know where I heard that when I was kid, but someone must have said it around me because it not only was something I liked to say, but it was something I liked to say wrong. You see, the first time I heard it, what I heard was this:

Patience is a virtue. Keep it if you can. Sell them in a woman, never in a man.

So, I knew patience was a virtue, but I was also pretty sure it was a commodity. Couldn’t entirely figure out how to profit off of this, but I was determined that I would get to the bottom of it. I also wanted to find someone who could tell me why it was a bad idea to trade with men.

At the same time, I was listening to lots of oldies. My parents were big fans, so it was the go-to radio station in the car. I learned at a young age to croon along with the classics. Whenever Lulu came on, I’d belt out my promise “to serve, with love”* and with The Delfonics, I would proclaim “your best friend Robin told me” with great emotion.** And the list went on and on.

And, you know what’s always awesome? That moment when you realize your mistake. Because, much like mispronounced words, you never just figure it out on your own. No such luck.

It always starts out innocently. You say/sing something wrong and the person you’re with asks you to repeat it. But not in a, I’m sorry I couldn’t quite hear you sort of way. It’s more of a I’ll be mocking you in a moment vibe. And you feel it in your gut. What you just said – what you’ve said a bunch of times before – isn’t right. But what part of it? You don’t want to repeat it, but at this point this person’s already going to laugh at you, so you might as well figure out what’s wrong so you can avoid it the next time around.

So, you repeat.

And they laugh.

A lot.

Until you finally threaten them with a serious shin-kicking (of course, this could just be me) and they tell you what the words really are. On the plus side, they’re now burned into your brain, so you’ll never say them wrong again. Of course, the person currently laughing at you will probably tell everyone you know, so your ability to now quote it correctly will not be nearly as useful.

My best advice is to get a whole new set of friends and start over. Or just learn to laugh about your mistake.

One of the two.

*Correct lyrics: “To sir, with love”
**Correct lyrics: “Your best friend wrote and told me”

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