Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Equal Conversational Planes Theory

I'm deep into Day Four of no speaking, I have four more 30°-inclined sleeps until I can talk, and my methods of communication seem to have fallen into four categories:
  • writing notes on my iPad, laptop, or notebook; 
  • texting, messaging, and emailing; 
  • blogging and posting on social media; 
  • and miming, sometimes with the aid of an interpreter. I'm a really good mime; just ask Ed. My best move is the little bow I do to say thank you. 
After practicing all these forms of communication, I've developed a theory. I'll present it here.

The Equal Conversational Planes Theory
The Equal Conversational Planes Theory states that conversation between two or more parties is optimal when all participants are using the same form of communication or are on the same communal plane.

For example, if I am communicating with someone who is able to speak to me, and I am forced to write notes on my iPad, communication is not optimal. It is, to put it scientifically, really freaking awkward. The speaking party is forced to wait while I write, wondering where he should look and what he should do. If there are other people nearby, the speaking party usually passes my writing time by engaging another, and by then, I'm left in the dust.

If, however, I am on the same communal plane with another—both of us texting, for instance—communication is optimal. The same restrictions that bar my communication, bar the other participant, as well, so none of the "freaking awkwardness" exists. We can text, message, email, "social media," or whatever to our hearts' contents without the awkward wait existing for only one party.

The Expectation Corollary
However, there is an Expectation Corollary. The Expectation Corollary allows that if participants are on different conversational planes, conversation can still be smoothly achieved if the expectations of the participant(s) on the higher plane are low.

For instance, Wendy, Wes, and I embarked on our first post-surgical run this morning. Everyone in attendance was aware that my only method of communication while running would be miming. Therefore, the questions asked were formed in ways that I could respond with hand motions and general overacted mimery.

Silly, But True
Of course, the presentation of this blog is all in fun, but there is truth to the findings. I do appreciate everyone's patience with me this week, especially those around whom I spend the most time. Ed and Sam are being patient at home, my Mom and Dad are being patient when I visit, and my friends are being patient when we run or hang out.

It's just that all of you get a break from it, and I don't. Even when I'm alone, I'm aware of the restriction. Solitude is certainly easier than being with others, but I can physically feel my inability to speak. That knowledge is the most awkward thing of all.

However, it's seven days. I can hang. I'll be to the halfway point in a couple of hours.

SARS! MRSA! End of days!
One of the conditions of me being allowed to run is that no debris (read: dust, pollen, gnats, other buggery), gets on my incision site. I am at a greater risk of sucking these fragments into my vocal folds while running. Therefore, I have to run with a surgical mask. Imagine running around town wearing that thing. Nothing says "fun run" like an "I'm afraid of SARS in Bedford!" mask. First, passersby look at me inquisitively. Then, they start touching their faces, like maybe I know something they don't.

Again, I jest (some), but I'm really very thankful. Today's masked run was one of the best I've had in a long time, even though my toe is jacked (yuck-pic warning), my cords are healing, and I'm on enough medication to supply a small country. That's probably why the run was so necessary.

Happy Flag Day, from my family and friends to yours.  You can still have fun if you can't speak!

Clockwise from top left: with Wendy, with Mom, Dad, Abbi

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