01 December 2006

Difference of Opinion

Steve had to leave because, the next day, I was teaching 50 university freshman how to argue.

He couldn't stay at my house because I had planned to stay over at the house of my friend, Marion.

She lived in Utrecht, which meant I would only have to make a short trip across town to teach my morning class at 8.45.

Before he left, I practiced my material on Canadian Steve, the third CouchSurfer. My opening line was, "Why do we have differences of opinion?"

"Because no two people on the face of the earth ever experience life in the same way."

So far so good. "So, what do we do with difference of opinion?"

Steve replied, "Well, it makes me feel uncomfortable. I tend to let people do their thing and I do my thing."

I said, "But I love difference of opinion. For me it's not about arguing, it's about exploring. When I meet someone with a different point of view, I think I might have a chance to discover something new."

A few weeks later, another Canadian CouchSurfer was on the verge of leaving. She asked for my contact details.

As I spelled out my email address, I stalled on the last letter of my name, "m-e-t.....zed, zee. Wait a second. You say, 'zed', right?"

For a moment, I couldn't remember which one of us used which pronunciation.

Because I think it's less distracting, my practice is to adapt to the conversation by using audience-specific words.

It's less distracting for non-Americans to hear, "football" instead of "soccer."

It's less distracting for Americans to hear "cell phone" instead of "mobile phone."

When talking to Canadians, I say "zed" instead of "zee."

Ashley, my sixth CouchSurfer smiled and said, "Have you seen the rant?"

I told her that I had no idea what she was talking about. So she showed it to me on YouTube:

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