Monday, June 30, 2008

The Subtext

As we were leaving Costco today, the cart was so heavy that it was hard to steer. (It didn't help that there were two wiggly kids dangling off the sides.) When we got to the car, we did the typical no-kids-in-the-car-until-we-get-this-unpacked rule. When we do this, I'm the cheerleader:

"Come on, you're doing great! Jee, look at your strong arms! Way to go... Aee what a catch!"

There was a businessman pulling his car carefully into the spot beside me and he witnessed a good chunk of our end-of-Costco experience. He smiled a wide, Southern smile and said, "Looks like you're getting them to help out!"

I smiled back and nodded, "Yep!"

As he walked away, I heard --- the subtext ---, those words that nearly everybody says under their breath or in their minds that is usually more honest, true, and to-the-point than their admitted first comment.

The subtext is the inside of the onion.

He said, "Good luck with that... Kids never help out."

I wish I hadn't heard him.

Curses to acute hearing.

Actually, it was good that I heard him. It reminded me to be more aware of my own subtext.

In this particular guy's case, his subtext was toxic. "Kids never help out." What the bleep?! Poor guy. Poorer kids related to that guy.

So, my wish is this: Let my subtext be honest, upbeat, and positive. Right now, my words are... well, you can see my words, but my subtext is... well, that's private. That's why it's unspoken, but awareness on a personal level is great.