Lateral Thinking

I enjoy thinking about thinking. It’s not epistemology; I’m not thinking about knowing. It’s not a branch of neuroscience; I’m not thinking about biological processes. It’s not philosophy; I’m not thinking about thought.

I’m thinking about thinking. I think about how one thought leads to another and by old habit, long usage, or logic, one thought follows another to arrive at another thought, and so on. It affords opportunity to find holes in the fabric of consciousness, to locate the germ of humor, to question assumption, make new discoveries or fall asleep. All of which are admirable goals.

When I’m under the weather, this happens naturally and subconsciously, revealing well worn misunderstandings that have hovered for years just below the surface.

“A home is just a house without a cat.”

This sentiment baffled my mother and it fuddled me that it baffled her. I’m a cat person. She’s not. I read the meaning as it was intended by the fellow cat person who made me the cross stitch. “A house isn’t much of a house without a cat in it”. 12 years later, I realized my mother read it as “A home is not a home if it has one of those forsaken demons in it.”

Admittedly, this is a sentiment that would benefit from some reconfiguring. However, it’s delightful to note how to thinking people got two different meanings from the same set of words.

“Call me whatever you like, just don’t call me late for dinner.”

To which I always thought I was being quite clever by answering “oh hey, late-for-dinner.”

Yesterday, I was dopey, one quarter sick, and being nice. Quite a lot of exertion. I read this on a friend’s facebook post, and because my usual thought processes were inhibited, suddenly understood.

“Call me whatever you like, just don’t be late in calling me for dinner.”

Or, more succinctly

“Call me whatever you like, just don’t call me late for dinner.”




8 thoughts on “Lateral Thinking

    • haha! yes, yes you are. I thought about including the thread, which was adorable, but I think one topic per post is likely enough. also, your girls steal any show they turn up in… 🙂

  1. It took me forever to understand that the phrase “No news is good news” means “It is a good thing when there is no news.”

    I used to think it meant “There is no such thing as good news.”

    • That’s hilarious! I always thought that one was weird, but I understood. I see the issue though… I spent all afternoon giggling about that.

      Anyone else misunderstand something obvious?

  2. I know for a fact that I’ve had trouble with many such phrases, but they all slip my mind. I plead having a fever for the past three days. 😛 I do remember, once, my brother was reading Lord of the Rings and reached a phrase “wind the horn.” He looked up at me, confused, and asked how you wind a horn (as in wind a clock). Curse you, heteronymous homographs!

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