Understanding: sometimes difficult to achieve

My wife was baking muffins and was out of baking soda and wanted to know what she could use instead. I have no idea, and in fact, have confused baking soda with baking powder. I do know, once upon a time, I used one instead of the other in making pancakes, took one bite of the bitter batter concoction and threw them out.

Found this website, Baking Soda Substitutes, which reads: “For each 1 teaspoon baking soda in the recipe, substitute 4 teaspoons of double acting baking powder.” It worked well!

But I still don’t have a deep understanding of what each of them does. And I suppose I don’t care enough to learn.
Sometimes I use words or phrases people don’t understand.

I wrote to one friend, “I namechecked you in my last blog post.” And I had to explain that namecheck merely meant that I mentioned her. “The Peter, Paul and Mary song I Dig Rock & Roll Music namechecks the Mamas & the Papas and the Beatles and Donovan.”

She, BTW, sent me a link to this Louis CK video, Older People are Smarter. Which they are, BTW, but younger people often don’t understand this. She was concerned I might find it profane. Interestingly, no. I wouldn’t USE the language, but hearing the language didn’t bother me (and it might bother you, or not.).

To another friend, I said something was a PITA, and she asked what THAT meant. I wrote back, “Pain In The Butt.”

There was this third example I can’t remember presently, and they all happened within a 24-hour period. The overriding point is that sometimes I think I’m being clear, yet I feel misunderstood. I suspect all of us feel that way some of the time.

I was telling a friend a story about an incident, and my friend interrupts, “Oh, you told that story.” Except that I hadn’t, because this iteration had a different (and more annoying) twist to it.

3 thoughts on “Understanding: sometimes difficult to achieve”

  1. I get that a lot.

    I also got some complaints from students in the opposite direction. When I get a question, I explain the concept again using a different method. Some students have complained that the students asking the question should simply study more or go to a tutor. The complaining students say the confused students are wasting class time.

    Now I’m torn. :/


  2. I’ve had similar things happen about language. Acronyms on social media/texting are sometimes a problem, like your PITA, but sometimes the other way round: Someone once Tweeted “SMH” (for “shake my head”), but I only saw the initials for “Sydney Morning Herald”, which is often referred to as “SMH” in this part of the world.

    Using words other people don’t understand can be a problem for anyone who reads a lot, writes a lot (including bloggers!) and people who’ve been around long enough to memorise more words. On my blog, I try to use the right word, the best word, but I also try and avoid words I think are unnecessarily obscure because I don’t like it when others do that and send me to the dictionary/Google when a simpler word would have been as good/clear. On the other hand, picking up lots of words over time means it becomes less likely that one has to consult a dictionary/Google.

    Same issue with the baking powder/soda thing—never really understood what was what. I know someone who never buys self-raising flour (I think it’s called self-rising flour in the US). She prefers to take regular flour and add baking powder—or is is baking soda? I better look that up…


  3. I use acronyms and many times people have no idea what i’m saying. PITA, for me, is shortened to PIA. There are a lot of PIA factors at work! The other occurs a lot with computers…it’s a PICNIC problem (Problem In Chair, Not In Computer). That happens a lot too! 🙂


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