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Today a friend posted the link on Facebook to a blog she had written. In it she outlined how she was aiming to become a ‘creature of habit’. In her opinion, and her words, “If writers don’t have a schedule, they will not be able to write anything worthwhile.” She aspired to have a fixed routine and be able to keep it, so ended her post with a passionate, “I so want to be a creature of habit!”

All good so far.

That’s when I enter the scene left center. I write out a comment for her and hit send. “I hope you become one (a creature of habit) soon! Good luck to you. 🙂 I have given up hope. 😀 ” Satisfied at a job well done, I leave to do chores around the house.

After a while I check my phone. My friend has replied, the notification says. I check to find a GIF. It shows a worried looking cat retreating into a room and closing the door after itself. I don’t really get the connection or significance. But then I don’t get everything others share. The GIF itself is cute. I spend time watching the cat a few times and go away to do other things.

In the evening I check Facebook again and scrolling down, see my own comment and stop short. WTF! Is that what I wrote? But it looked like I said I was giving up on my friend! Realization dawns. So that’s what the cat GIF meant! You see, my friend fancies herself to be a cat and the GIF was her retreating hurt. Oh no, I groan in dismay. And to think what I meant was that I had given up on MYSELF ever becoming a creature of habit!

This happens all the time on online dealings (not that it doesn’t happen offline/in real life) to me. Sometimes you write something, someone else reads it as entirely something else. In such cases you really don’t have control over how others perceive what you have written because it depends entirely on their frame of mind at the time. At other times, your messages/comments are incomplete and misleading, either because you are lazy to write the whole thing out or because your brain has filled up the gaps in your head and hoodwinks you into thinking you have expressed yourself sufficiently well.

The second one it is this time. So I tell her what I meant in a new comment: “I have tried, unsuccessfully, to become a creature of habit. 🙄 Hope you have better results. There, that’s clearer, right?” My friend is a good sort. She understands, and laughs. She agrees though that she did think I meant her. We laugh over it. And I am relieved that for once it hasn’t blown out of proportion and cost me a friendship like it has in the past.

© Shail Mohan 2020