“Sometime I think that words are an impediment to communication.”
Clare laughed at Mark’s statement.
“Perhaps, but what do you want to do instead, play charades?”
Mark did not smile.
“If it would help you understand what I’m trying to tell you, yes.”
Clare smiled to herself, shaking her head. They had reached an impasse. Mark could be so black and white about everything that it took her by surprise that his thoughts were more subtle on the subject.
Perhaps he wasn’t being subtle. Maybe he did see it in pure Black and white. Perhaps here was something simple there that neither of them saw.
She got out a piece of paper and drew a diagram. She took her time, being very careful, trying to get everything just right. Some of it was bringing what were really abstract ideas down to a concrete level, but other parts were the interface between the abstract concept and the concrete world. There were some words on the diagram, but as few as possible.
Clare turned the diagram towards Mark. She pointed to that part were the abstract and concrete met, the part where he was adamant that she didn’t understand.
“I think this is where the disagreement lies,” she said. She smiled. “And, as you suggest, no words.” They are too abstract, she thought, but didn’t say.
Mark picked up the paper and studied it. To Clare watching Mark’s face it was as if the clouds had parted letting a beam of light in. In a minute he was smiling and nodding, waving the page in one hand while pointing to it with the other.
“This,” he said. “Yes, exactly this.”
“So we’re all set, then?”
“Yes, thank you.”
“My pleasure,” Clare said. “It is always wonderful, reaching an agreement where we had seen only a brick wall.”
Mark stood. Clare got up as well and reached over her desk.
Mark shook her hand.
“We’ll get started on this immediately.”
I didn’t have anything for this except for the first line, but made a stab at it… Better than my original first line that I abandoned – “Beam me up Scotty. No intelligent life found.” ;)