Well, this is embarrassing.
Remember how I said I was waiting for Melanie to get back to me with her chapter? Well, time stretched and stretched, and I started to worry. Was she labouring over her words? Or was she dealing with a life issue – a sick kid or leaky basement? Tentatively, heart in my fingers, I tapped out a message: “Hey partner, how are things?” I stressed that I was neither nudging nor judging her. If there was a problem, could I help?
I was so low-key I could hardly hear myself.
Melanie got back to me right away. What was I talking about? She’d sent her chapter days ago – a few days after she’d got mine. Right on schedule, in short.
To be honest, she sounded nothing like the woman in the picture looks. At least not right away, because she was afraid she'd never sent the key email, and that the mix-up was her fault.
I trawled through our school of emails (note the sustained metaphor) and found the one she was referring to. Oh. Turns out I had misinterpreted her cover letter and the attachment.
Miscommunication is almost always dues to faults on both sides. In this case, the percentage is at least 2% hers. Maybe 3%. I’ll own the rest. But who’s counting?
So now the ball is in my hand. I have to toss it back to her in a way that pushes our story (note the metaphor breakdown) to its climax. I have some ideas. We’ll see how they work out. And when I’ve finished, I’ll send it to her, and make sure that she knows it. Miscommunication is a learning curve. I picture us something like this: