The Epiphany

“See, when you want to reverse the car to left, you have to turn the steering wheel to the left,” I told my wife. She was learning reverse parking and I was her self-appointed driving coach.

“But when I turn left, the car is going towards right!” she exclaimed.

“No! The car is going towards left. See, the left tail lamp is going left,” I showed her in the side view mirror.

“Yeah but the right headlamp is going towards the right,” she pointed towards the right headlamp which appeared to be moving towards right from driving seat. Of course, it had to. If you are focusing on the front, the nose of the car will seem to go towards the right.

“But why are you focusing on the front headlamp? When you’re reversing your point of reference should be the tail lamp,” I explained.

“Then why didn’t you explicitly tell me that before?” she asked almost in complete frustration.

“I thought you would…,” before I could complete my sentence, I had an epiphany.

We were both right about “where the car was going.” But our definitions of “where the car was going” were inconsistent. She was looking forward while reversing the car like many amateur drivers do, while I assumed that she was looking back.

“You know, you’re right.” I said that with a great sense of relief.

What did I learn that day?

All misunderstandings happen because at some level people start with inconsistent assumptions and fail to communicate it.

No. No. That’s all self-help-feel-good hokum.

What I really learned or rather re-learned that day was – Very few people are always right. Your wife is one of them.