Tuesday, June 24, 2008

"words mean things"

If I could choose a leitmotiv for the past five years it might be "words mean things." A leitmotiv that would later become its own fugue...

And still, meanings are so slippery!

I went to pick up my produce box today. I've been getting one weekly the past month. I used to only get a box every other week, as it was difficult for me to finish a whole box by myself. Now I pick up my box on Tuesday and need to buy more produce by the weekend - it's wonderful. I mentioned this to the woman who co-owns the store - I told her that I'm going through my produce box much faster than I used to. She apologized for the way inflated costs of organic food have sometimes resulted in smaller boxes. I tried to explain that I had only meant that I was eating more produce, but she'd already begun helping another customer and only half-heard my explanation.

It had never occurred to me that the produce boxes had gotten smaller; I actually am eating much more produce and I am pleased with the quantity and variety in my box. But then, I am sure it never occurred to her that someone might purchase a produce box and then let nearly half of it go bad in her refrigerator...

I don't think this was an example of my actually choosing inadequate words to express my situation, it was simply an occasion in which neither I nor the woman with whom I was speaking had adequate information about each other - I didn't know about the impact of inflation on their store's operations and she didn't know about my laziness/lack of inspiration regarding food. Still, I was disappointed that what I had meant as a casual attempt at conversation about my own silliness/change had been interpreted (and not necessarily wrongly interpreted, given her situation) as a critique.

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