I just recieved a call from a woman asking me if I was Tim Storm. I said yeah, and she explained that George was having some ear pain and so they went into the hospital and he’s there now and he might have an infection and they’re going to stay there for a few more hours, so there’s just no way he can give Sarah her piano lesson tonight. I was thinking about interrupting her, but it was an interesting story.
When she was done, I said, “Ok, um, I’m sorry. What piano lessons?” Honest to God, that’s what I said. Not simply “Uh, I think you have the wrong number,” but “What piano lessons?” See, that’s how my brain works sometimes — the logic being, I’m a teacher, so lessons makes sense; and we actually do have a piano, so that’s possible; and my wife’s an audiologist (in training), so the ear thing fits. . .
I think it’s a literary thing. When you’re hearing the story for the first time, you’ve got to suspend disbelief, collect your questions as the plot’s being developed, and see if they get answered later. As a teacher, I’m so immersed in the task of making sense , of interpreting meaning, that I’m slow to change modes from “explicator of poetry” to “receiver of phone call.”