At Second Glance

On second glance, we realized our mistake and swallowed our pride for laughing at them. Here’s the story. Shortly after moving to this part of Bangkok, we spent a good portion of our time walking the streets to get a feel for the area. We noticed a cool little coffee shop called Postcard…or was it? I started to hear conflicting reports.

Kathy, Tina’s sister, told me the name was Pastcord as we rode the bus by the shop on our way home  while she was in town helping us get settled in our new digs. Now I was confused as some told me the name was Postcard. Which was it? Apparently there are two signs, with one sign flipping the vowels, reading Pastcord, not Postcard.

We often see odd signs in English as the people writing them don’t have a good grasp of our language. We figured this shop did the same, and mocked the messed up name. We got plenty of laughs as we thought about a coffee shop messing up their name. Well, upon further examination, we discovered the name was Postcard. On the second sign, the shop inverted the vowels so it reads “Pastcord Ceffoe.” The coffee shop was trying to be cute and funny, and we mistakenly took that as a hilarious misprint.

This made me think about misperceptions and people’s reactions to them. How many times to we intend to be creative and cute with our presentation only to fall flat on our face? We may never know that people are laughing at us for making a bad sign or communicating something completely silly. I am not meaning when we make cultural blunders that we unwittingly make before we know what all the hand gestures mean. I am talking about the foot-in-mouth syndrome. We usually get in trouble by doing things with the right motives but with limited perspective. From our point-of-view what we are saying is spot on, but from the other side, we come off looking silly. Let’s remember to keep the other’s perspective in mind as we go about life.

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