Summer laments, “If everybody thinks in concepts, why are there so many stupid people who can’t keep up with me? Even when I manage to get words around them, simple words, people don’t /get/ me. It’s enough to make a girl become a hermit. What’s the point of /knowing/ so much, so many words, if I’m just reduced to using the simple ones, the broad brushstrokes, just so people understand me?” She heaves a sigh, and leans her head against the window.
There’s a sound, then, that comes from Stiles, which is not terribly unlike the sound of a cat trying to bring up a hairball. It’s incredulous at its very core, at its very best, and he glances at Summer with an equally incredulous look on his face. “Seriously, did you seriously just tell me that you don’t think other people are capable of abstract thought or conceptualizing because they don’t always understand what’s coming out of your mouth? Wow. I mean—no. Wow.”
His eyes flick back to the road, and he leans up briefly to peer at a stoplight as it changes and he’s obliged to slow down for it. “Everybody thinks in concepts. That doesn’t mean the concepts they think in are the same ones you think in. That also doesn’t really mean they’re dumb, although I’ll give you there are plenty of dumb people in the world. It just means they don’t think like you do. Which, you know, not actually a crime. The point of knowing is knowing, not trying to one-up other people with your vocabulary. I mean…the point of talking is to communicate, right? Just because you know what absquatulate means, or whatever, doesn’t mean you should say that instead of ran away, or judge people if they didn’t run into that word before. Like—making sure your meaning is being understood is like eighty to ninety percent your responsibility, not the listener’s.”
After a long moment where she’s trying to put her thoughts together, she says, “That’s exactly what I meant — I couldn’t even make clear to /you/ what I was really trying to say. I said it wrong, I didn’t put the words around it right, because the only words I can use are the simple ones. Even if I’m in a situation where ‘absquatulate’ is the word I need, the /right/ word, with the right shading and implication and precise meaning — I have to use ‘ran away’ because nobody knows the other word, and half of what I’m trying to express is lost in that.” She balls up her fists and stares at them in the growing dusk.
“Almost nobody thinks like I do,” she adds softly. “I think maybe I’m not human. Nobody else seems to — to /care/, to be able to see through someone else’s eyes, to understand and listen and feel but not let that feeling control what they choose — /inform/ it, yes.” She trails off, convinced she’s not making herself clear, certain she’s just making herself sound ever more arrogant when what she wants is to be humble, to understand and be understanding. Clarity /matters/.