June 17, 2010 “Miss-spoke or Misspoke,” however you spell it, is a new word in our vernacular. The word, let alone the interpretation behind it, creates remarkable fodder for anger, resentment, mistrust and frustration. I remember when a man’s handshake and a woman’s promise guaranteed their pledge. And please, do not consider me naïve, for my own experience proves not all who pledge follow through. So, did they misspeak? Or, was their intended promise what matters? Such questions are I’m afraid, unanswerable by mankind. Why? – It’s easier to blame than to trust.
At the end of a street in South Africa, I stepped onto a large concrete slab that presented the work of local and nearby artisans. Their creations displayed atop colorful scarves, rumpled brown paper or on the concrete itself. The heat, variety and hawkers overwhelmed me. Eventually I chose – a mother, father and child carved in stone, their hands coming together as one; like a new shoot joining a mature plant. Oh, and I almost forgot. I misspoke when I negotiated my price. I knew this because the artisan placed his hand over his mouth to mask a smile. So did the other young men surrounding us. He said in the kindest voice, “Madam, I cannot accept, too much. I have liked our time together. I have learned.” I paid less and promised never to forget his kindness, I have not.