I’m constantly staggered, often exasperated and occasionally flabbergasted by the way in which one can slowly and clearly explain something verbally to another individual, only for them to completely miss the point of what was said or even to derive the exact and opposite meaning.
Maybe I’m just extremely poor at communicating my thoughts, or many of the people I know can be unusually obtuse, but judging from the frequency with which I’ve witnessed the same phenomenon between others, it seems like a defining feature of verbal interaction. You asked for chocolate, you got vanilla. You said you were driving; here’s a pint of vodka, cheers. You agreed fifty, here’s a bill for five hundred. Your coruscating attack on Thatcher’s handling of the miners is received as a vehement dismantling of the environmental lobby and a repudiation of the EU and foreigners in general, to the keen approval of several elderly racists present.
Next time, put it in an email. Because it’s always the people who have most difficulty understanding words in either written or oral form that will insist on a follow-up phone call “to make sure we’re all on the same page”. Amidst all the concern about education standards, it’s often forgotten that schools are also responsible for teaching comprehension.