This question came from a conversation I had over Xbox Live. My friend, Travis, whom I met while in Vancouver, said that the weather in Vancouver is, "the banana boat of Canada". What?!?
So, this week's question is:
Do you take speech literally, and if so how do you deal with it?
The banana boat of Canada threw me for a loop because I had never heard of it. I instantly began to think if they grow bananas in Vancouver or if Vancouver grows a lot of crops. I don't think they do either, but anytime I meet a new figure of speech I can easily get lost.
I talk an write in a lot of non-literal examples and because I was exposed to them at an early age I feel as if I became equipped to understand them. Don't get me wrong though, if there is a new quote, like banana boat, I will essentially become paused in the conversation to visually see the sentence and then obviously I know the line is a figure of speech. The hard part though is trying to decipher what the actual meaning is because I am not going to ask. Many times I'll just nod in an empty agreement to make it look like I understand when I am actually clueless.
In my police presentations when it comes time to talk about this potential literalness I use this example, "If you have a room full of people on the spectrum and you look outside and say that it is 'raining cats and dogs outside' you are going to have a room half full of those scared, and the other half disappointed. The first half is going to be scared to see cats and dogs raining down on the pavement, and the other half is going to be disappointed that there are no cats and dogs raining onto the pavement'"
My example is an extreme one I give, but the message needs to be driven home because lines such as, "Are you pulling my leg?" and "Do you have something up your sleeve?" can lead to some unneeded confusion.
I know I am lucky that I have the ability to understand what these odd and seemingly obscure lines mean so long as I've been introduced to them before. New ones though are difficult. I'm still struggling with what the Banana boat means so don't mind me as I nod in agreement as I try to figure out what it means. Who knew the English language was full of codes and that one would need to be a cryptologist to be able to navigate life?