I HAVE THE BAD HABIT OF ASSUMING. Really. For all the social discomfort I had, I have always believed that I’m the one who is in the side of righteousness. We all want to throw an impressive picture to everyone we meet. And I’m not spared with this nature of man. Conversation is my best way to accomplish most of my goal in life; that is to become rich and become awesome. With that I consider myself a great assumer. Because no matter how hard I claim the mastery of doing these things, Czesar is still ignorant, well JUST YET.
Early this semester I found myself sitting inside a communication theory class. It means another 3 units to earn and a new set of lectures to study. All my assumptions about how boring it would be were disproved in the following days. The conventional class room turned to be a battlefield of ideas and personalities, which made my adrenal gland to secrete the highest amount of epinephrine possible. I never thought that my field has this portion of scientific pursuit of knowledge! Before, I thought that communication is just an art, far from the world of Einstein and Newton. Well, it is not even in the littlest intention to say that art is less of a worth than science, but since grade school I am trained to believe that they occupy two different sides of the universe. Until we are introduced to these theories all saying in chorus: “you are not a mass com student if you don’t know that…”—so I decided to fully immerse myself to what this class can offer.
Formula of man’s insanity
The first meeting is not so pleasant. If ever there could be other way of describing a day when your professor got mad at the whole class because of students who fail to observe the due value of time than saying it is awful. And the next day is something even worse.
Topics are all in and we are about to see the presentation of the first lesson, when after few sermons it appeared that the reporters didn’t please our professor. Instead of having them discuss the topic; Ma’am Malaya stood and did the effort.
Suddenly, a man by the name of George Mead entered the room and hysterically shouted us, saying that he knows the answer why most people fall to the pit of assuming. And who can be more interested about this thing besides of me! He said that we act towards things based on the meaning we have for them. And our meaning is expressed through language, both of which are a product of our interaction. But there could be times when our own meanings of things just don’t reconcile with the meanings of this world.
In my case, when an obvious achievement in school is delivered in front of our house, that should equate for an additional allowance. But the reaction of my mom can be otherwise. So different that she can instead say I am weak to bring home the second place while for the previous situations, I have been bringing home the best. That is a story of death by assumption. This is just an example but evidently, both my mom and I died in this scene. I because I assumed that I can win a reward from her because I have something not all kids in our neighborhood have; and my mom because she is so confident with her very nice child thinking that I can’t be any lesser than the first.
How about in relationships? Allow me to narrate a personal experience. Well, when I once went out with my high school friends, my long-time crush fixed his eyes on me. “So what could that mean?” I asked myself. Is he starting to realize that I am so adorable and maybe he should start giving a chance with our chemistry? I know it is so pathetic to think that way. But humans are like that. We are so smart that for a moment we want to be stupid to choose the impossible. That maybe, it could happen. Yancey’s meaning of staring at me could be different from my interpretation of it.
“SHUT UP!” I shouted back to George. It is not every day that a 3rd year college student gets the chance to yell a known theorist. So again I assume that my classmates find me great for doing so. But, my prime reason of shouting is because of some loop holes I found in his explanation of things.
First, if it is true that reality is just a collection of hunch, then why do we even have to coin the term meaning if there is always a tendency for it to be different in the eyes of other people? Let’s say that the best world for Rico is a world full of Rico. Because on that world, meanings are uniformed. There is no conflict, misunderstanding, or even broken expectations. Where Hi is always a Hi, not a good bye.
Another problem I see about the principle of Social Interactionism lies on the process of meaning, language, and thought. Most of the time, the ideas we conceive in our minds don’t make it to the next step of meaning assignment. We are so unconscious about how small details of our thoughts remain in the corner of our heads. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that it doesn’t exist! If a PUPian stands in the middle of the freedom park encouraging everybody to go out because a huge monster is right in front of the obelisk, I might be the first one to laugh at him.
But let’s examine the situation. What if the monster he is trying to refer to is not literally a monster but some sort of a problem? And the reason why he is asking everyone to come out is for a demonstration and protest? He is certainly a PUPian who is not at his best. Or more appropriately, he is a communicator who failed to assign proper meaning on things.
The best way for us to save our helpless dignity from the fatal damage of misunderstanding, I have learned, is to consider also how other people will receive our messages. In other words, we can be so creative in telling stories, but let us stick to the way of how the listener, I’m talking about all the possible listeners, will accept it. Meaning, language, and thought. What a lovely formula of man’s insanity.
So after telling my thoughts about the theory, George Mead said, “What a very intelligent student I have before me.” I’m so flattered but I simply answered that he is still smarter than me. My questions will not be formed without his first initiative to explain why we act the way we do. Honestly, I didn’t allow his compliment get into my head. Who knows, he might mean something else.
We proceeded to the next lesson after Mead bid us goodbye. As I try to once again compose myself for another discussion, there’s a peculiar feeling inside me. And guess what, when I look to the person next to me I realized that he is naked! And not too long after this, the rest of our class is out of their clothes! What did just happen?
“Only by looking to the world this way can you avoid deception” a voice behind me whispered. I turned and found my old friend Judee Burgoon. She explained to me the thoughts behind interpersonal deception theory.
We try to look nice every time we go outside of our home. We are at ease that our motives are neatly concealed behind our grand clothes. But Burgoon shared to me the definition of leakage. So the thing is how we deceive other people and how we are also being deceived. Keen attention towards the people we converse with can help us to determine if deception is at work. To observe them—that is, in a very subtle yet careful manner, even if it means secretly taking off their clothes.
Wait! Why would a man do that? To investigate the person they interact with. After all, isn’t true that no one will talk to a person unless that person means something to him? Let alone the conversations which are intimate? I tried so hard to change my perception to things, but the desire to know the truth is far from diminishing. I scratch my eyes but the people around me are still naked. Why?
It is normal to doubt, I started to understand. We are more than animals looking for food to eat. But more so, we are in an endless venture to attain certainty. Never feel bad when suddenly, in the middle of a conversation, you find yourself doubting. Because great portion of our life is devoted to reducing uncertainty. Fortunately, as Charles Berger would suggest, not every encounter follows great uncertainty. There are axioms which apart from being so technical in nature are also applicable in many aspects of life. As what happened to me once when I met an irregular student in our class in statistics. She is a complete stranger to me. Our class ended and she said that her way home is similar to mine. Which means as a gentleman, a very rare attitude of me, the next scene would be sharing the same train with her. We just met that day. It is but a quick way of being acquainted. The talk started with exchange of civil words. Everything lasted for 20 minutes and after 8 stations, we realize that we are heading for the same terminal. And guess what the next thing I found out? She lives in the same subdivision!
Even if I am not fond of talking to ladies, especially for someone whom I just met, my tongue got the drive to work more and reveal things about myself. I don’t know but every time two individuals found common interests, likes, hobbies, even an address or whatsoever, there is a line that immediately connects your bond. To use the term of Charles Berger, shared network makes the understanding between two heads possible.
Shared network has proven its existence more than by justifying that ‘birds with the same feather flock together’. Many criminals wear the same intelligence and face. Watching how Napoles used the influence of Estrada, Revilla, and Enrile to embezzle money shows that these people used their shared network: the interest to take more than what they deserve. We are all at one point become thirsty and hungry. Thanks for them I learned an important lesson: never will I trade my dignity for money. I will try my best to do what is morally good. With that I can become awesome without showing how prick I am.
Antidote of Clashing Interests
A communication theory I am particularly interested with is the expectancy violation theory by Judee Burgoon. She returned with more interesting facts as we continue our conversation.
The idea of personal space made me realize many things. The intimate distance of 0 to 18 inches is something all of us have. Every day by numerous ways, this space is invaded by people whom we know and often those we don’t. A rush hour scene in LRT stations would show how getting to office or school is a deadly challenge where the personal space of an individual is the first to be violated.
I will not make this observation wordy, so this is what my eyes made me see. Every day we are violated by many people, but there are just some, or perhaps that only one person that we definitely don’t mind even if he/she violate us. Sometimes we are the one who put ourselves to situations that makes our intimate distance vulnerable. Emotion will always be part of the equation.
I am such a short-tempered freak. Any unfavorable actions before me will cause my mouth to shouting or my chest to pain. If there is a type of person who puts great value to his personal space, that would be me. But the natural state of affairs changes when I am confronted with my feelings. Simply put, the person I love is an exception for the term ‘violation’. And honestly, if only I have the chance to tell this to him, I would take even the strangest way to do it. ‘Man, you don’t know how I love surrendering my intimate distance to you.’ It would be a privilege to share my personal space with him. Especially when I know that the best point to enjoy the view of his smile is the seat next to him. And I can allow this person violate me for the rest of my life.
I question: would you still consider it a violation if we allow it to happen? I guess it’s not. Otherwise it will break the universal meaning of violation. So we have the communicator reward valence, which explains how we speak to people for the tendency to be rewarded or punished if we don’t entertain the conversation. But reward is never important for a special person. Neither do we dwell about punishment if we have genuine care. If my words start to sound flirtatious, I quickly save my image by saying that I am not using this paper to become my public version of love letter. Many conflicts and fears are brought by the violation of one’s territory. The Philippines uses all its possible resources just to contest its right for claiming the lands in Spratlys. China, on the other hand, is willing to level their forces against any nation who would invade their turf. If it is possible for a two individual to find care from one another, why not between two nations with intellectual leaders?
The antidote for clashing interests is right at the center of our being—LOVE. Although it is not directly stated in the original manifesto of this theory, no one has ever failed after using the power of affection. The antagonistic principle behind expectancy and violation is that when the former is satisfied, the latter will be lessened. Therefore, one must meet the expectancy of another in order to avoid violation. Many poets and luminaries of different fields have assumed that true love never demands anything in return. To prove my point, love sees no expectation or requirement.
Ethos, Pathos, Logos
My life in school is not confined inside the four corners of our room. When I was a mass com student neophyte, I challenged myself to be at my best in gaining more friends than I had when I was in high school. And thanks to college organizations, this endeavor is realized.
I joined Viva Voce, the premiere public-speaking and debate organization in PUP College of Communication. VVC is the elite group of student rhetoricians who aim for perfection in speaking and thinking. It sounds great, I know. After qualifying as a member, I knew my choices are right. Being part of VVC opened many opportunities for me. Joining competitions outside the campus and rubbing elbows with the most brilliant minds in the college.
Every ‘first’ brings new experience. I never thought my interest in public speaking could have been any deeper. I have to be honest, however, that my beginning as a VVC member is not easy as it seems to other organizations. I have to deal with people who have a different sense of intellect with mine. Good thing, I enjoy the company of nice people who selflessly share what they know.
Now, as the Vice President of VVC, the burden of passing all the wit and wisdom I learned in public speaking is in my shoulders.
I consider myself lucky to see the connection of knowledge we get inside the classroom and outside of it. Since my affiliation in school is VVC, it also became my first avenue in applying the things I learn in communication theories. And all my stories can be recalled in a minute of retrospect.
After Ms. Burgoon discussed expectancy, reward and violation; our professor joined by two strangers came over. These strangers wear robes similar to the costumes of Greek I see in magazines and history books. To prevent our mind from prolonged confusion, Ma’am Malaya announced that our next lecture requires a time and space adventure. She introduced his two assistants and only that moment we realized they are holding a time machine. A few click in the device and the whole class was covered with overwhelming light. Suddenly, a shadow of a man was revealed in front of us. Aristotle is our instructor for that day and when I looked around, the magisterial scenery of Athens enthralled my eyes. His lesson can be condensed with three words: ethos, pathos, and logos. All of which helped me to be a more sophisticated public-speaker. And on how it all happened brings me to my next paragraph.
Ethos. From the very beginning of my journey in VVC, we are trained to be not just men of wise words but also councilors of goodwill. Aristotle, in his ideology of rhetoric put emphasis to the importance of the speaker’s good character. I believe that the noblest outcome of persuasion through speech is inspiring your audience. And I just don’t believe with it, I live by it. Every time we join a competition, our coach would always orient us the value of influence is far more significant than a piece of medal. We can use sweet words, impressive diction and accent to win, but one must desire for influence to call himself a true public speaker.
Pathos. Every verse must be filled with emotions. Even in private communication, our feeling makes up the meaning of what we are trying to say. An altered voice, however subtle, may produce various meaning. Be sensitive with the listeners’ emotions. For this is not only an issue of the passion inside our mouth, but also the sound of vigor received by our ears. This explains why the soul of the speaker must be one with the people. When my mentees in VVC hear this, they usually smile or even laugh at me. Maybe being poetic does not fit with my personality, but if there’s a moment I am truest to my goal, it is when I say that a best speech is weaved by sublime sentiments.
Logos. All of us had once in our life been involved to an argumentation. People who have the greatest love for each other paradoxically have the strongest debate. Why? Because they know exactly what is the weakest point of their arguments. This is all because we are rational beings. The line of reasoning is at the top of our consideration. But I noticed that whether we allow it to happen or not, our reasoning is affected by personal biases.
For example, a Christian would never be receptive to the ideas of mercy killing because he place premium to life. Even if the situation requires him to promote the benefits of mercy killing, perhaps for an academic debate, his arguments will never be compelling enough to win. A pre-existing belief will constantly come along the way to curve even the straightest line of reasoning.
Hence, I conclude, that it is an imperative for a communicator to watch his personal constructs from affecting his points. I can’t neglect the weight of logical proof in a good speech, but it is not tantamount to surrendering our faith, aspirations, and principles. To reconcile the situations that compel us to defend something different from what we believe and to those things which we actually believe; a quote from Socrates 2000 years ago will help: “know thy self.”
Prejudice as a Crime
I find it very relevant when Victor Hugo said in his book Les Miserables that “Prejudices are the real robbers; vices the real murderers.”. When we thought that we had our best in trying to know ourselves, the question bounce back asking how much time we have spent knowing other people. Hugo is critical about the huge effect of small relationships in a community. And he made a good observation when he pointed out discrimination as an unhealthy ingredient for a sound society.
Talking about personal constructs would mean tapping all the things inside one’s mind. Although there is an operative definition of personal constructs, as what is provided by Jesse Delia, the extent on how we perceive people, places, and things is immeasurable. So when I look at my friend’s waist, I can always be pretentious to say that she is still in good shape. But whether it is contrary to what I really believe is certain only for me.
Just like how the world of research is divided into different worldviews, such as positivism and social constructivism, so do the people in holding their personal constructs toward others. Delia focused on the interpersonal aspect of this phenomenon, but I think it will also help to take a wider image of this matter.
First, let us discuss the role of constructs to the production of discrimination. A beggar in a street can receive three possible treatments from passersby. Either someone will take the heart of a Samaritan and spare him alms, or make fun of him for his situation, or simply ignore him. The last tendency may be more humane than the second one. But our concept of good deed will change if we try to analyze it using the principle of constructs.
The reason why a person would give alms is because that person is nice, someone who is compassionate. A group of men who will tease an unfortunate being amid its helpless situation would suggest that these men are mean. But when a person simply ignored the view and continued walking as if the beggar doesn’t exist can give different possible ideas. He ignored because he has no alms to give since he himself is leading a rough life. He ignored because he doesn’t actually mind the value of helping. Or as how Hugo believed that such people are present in a society, he ignored because he has prejudice toward beggars.
This is just a simple example how constructs can be deadly in social relationships. It can breed prejudice which creates gap among people.
The degree of its effects is not very different to interpersonal level. I can still remember my emotion when I found out that I’m going to work with a group of people in our class, whom I am not used to get along with, for our film production. If only there is a possible way for me to change my group, but it will simply not work that way. So my constructs with these people is that they are incapable to be competent. I guess three years of sharing the same class room is not enough for me to really know them well. I thought they know nothing aside from pulling pranks or making noise. That if there is anything they can do best, that is to remain silent in the middle of class discussion, which is very unconventional for me. That is not my definition of competence.
All the post-production works for our film demanded an overnight stay in one of our members’ dormitory. Like most of us are aware of, students don’t spend the whole night doing the serious thing. It is a ratio of 70%-30% in which the majority is dedicated to friendly conversations. After 12 hours of being with them, we accomplished two tasks: the editing of our film, and bridging the gap between me and these wonderful people. I found new friends and my constructs towards them have changed ever since. They are wonderful.
Everything can change. The moment we say it is impossible is the perfect time for us to think of a way how to make it otherwise. I have known the names of my class mates for three years. But just a week ago did I discover who they are. I was proven wrong with my constructs since they are as creative and dedicated as anyone else could be. In fact, I can attribute the success of our film to their impressive efforts. What I did is to give our friendship a chance. Take time to sit down and chat, give up all my prejudices and look at them plainly as how I would look an empty paper. The next thing I knew, that paper is full of colors and wonders we now call as beautiful experience.
Prejudice is a crime. It limits everyone from communicating to other networks, from creating a wider reach of connection, and from satisfying the human need to interact.
Personal constructs are embedded at our very core. It cannot be removed, but it can be cleansed. There is a way to remove the discrimination we have been accustomed. All it takes is willingness to exchange words.
We are down with the question, how can we change the outlook of people in order to eradicate discrimination? Simple talk doesn’t work to some. Especially those who are smart and professional, conceited by the fact that their judgment can never go wrong. I think this is where the responsibility of a communicator in crafting an effective message comes in. Aristotle have thought us the elements of rhetoric, while Burgoon gave a model of reward valence in order to predict the outcome of a communication phenomenon. These are all techniques applicable for the sender alone. But the other side of the spectrum, which refers to the receiver, is equally important. As I try to figure out these things, a man sat beside me. He said that he can read minds and he is fully aware of my agony in the idea of discrimination and prejudice.
If the burden, he said, is on how to alter people’s perception, it pays to place ourselves in their shoes. Suppose that a person rejects an idea, there are contributing factors why people react this way.
I used to hate reading young adult books. I find them very pre-school and made only for immature readers. My taste for books is different so that my friends would usually find me separated from them whenever we visit a book store. But, peer pressure is indeed an enemy for the principles of a young mind. My friends started encouraging me to read John Green. They used inviting words by telling me that Green’s books are talk of the town, best-seller of various book reviews, and have moving stories and deep meaning. Just to save our friendship from being ruined, I followed their advice to read Y.A books. Eventually, I find it interesting and I’m no longer alone in checking for the latest book because me and my friends now share the same shelves and genre.
My experience is not far dissimilar from the other’s. Before, reading Y.A books fall to my latitude of rejection. Without hearing further words, I easily dismiss the idea because I have a pre-existing conception. There is what we call anchor which refers to the point we find most convincing. Suppose a person would ask me why I don’t read Y.A books, my immediate answer is because I believe that those books are made for teens only and I cannot get anything sensible from it. Needless to elaborate, I just exposed my rejection by this answer. But when a follow-up question was thrown to me, my answer would be more specific saying that the authors of these books are contemporary writers, therefore they are more casual in their verbiage compared to my taste which is formal.
Whenever we are confronted by a more specific question, we give an even more categorical answer. This is the anchor of our judgment. Going back to the issue of prejudice, the tendency to reject ideas can be changed by constant exposure to foreign influence. It took a couple of months for my friends to convince me read John Green. No matter how long it is, it is still a persistent effort. The good thing about our anchors is its motility. Meaning it can be moved from one latitude to another through persuasion.
From latitude of rejection the anchor of judgment can be adjusted to his/her latitude of acceptance. This is the formula that most persuasive speakers use. In an effort to create an attitude change to the audience, one must tackle their anchors and by all means adjust it to fulfill the goal.
Having said all of these, destroying people’s prejudices can be done through persuasion. Having enough skills and knowledge in manipulating anchors, we can tell these people that there is no sector that is superior over the other. Or a beggar should enjoy the same rights with those people wearing barong inside palace and mansions. With this, change is not impossible.
I was so enlightened that I didn’t quickly notice the man who introduced me all these stuff about rejection and acceptance is leaving. I stood from my seat and went to him. I thanked him for helping me answer my questions. It is but a big lost not to know the name of this gentleman. When he turned around, I am so astounded with his pretty face that I can’t make out what he is saying. All of a sudden, he left our room and our conversation appeared to be just an illusion. I tried so hard to remember his name but all I can recall was something sounds like Sherif…Muzafer Sherif. I still am uncertain if that has anything to do with his name. I never find him around in COC again.
Statistics show the ever increasing number of people who spend more time in facing their gadgets than talking to their friends or family. Technology is a huge breakthrough in humanity that seems to draw a line between the generation of real-life and virtual connection. Sharing secrets with your friends beneath a tree is not less exciting than posting it on line and waiting for your friends to like or comment about it.
In the recent campaign ad of McDonald’s , the company tries to give the modern generation a picture of how social life suppose to look like. And their tagline: ‘celebrate real-world connection with McDonald’s’ hooked me up and compelled me to ponder some things.
When Irwin Altman and Dalmas Taylor proposed the theory of social penetration, they are assessing the interpersonal relationship among individuals. It suggests that our personality can be figuratively presented through an onion-like layers. Every encounter to someone leads us to self-disclosure that gradually expose our core. I learned a lot about this theory. It explained why a couple of minutes with a stranger may result to a lifetime acquaintance. But in this age of time, I believe that the principle of social penetration calls for an updated version.
Interpersonal communication is no longer at the top of the list when it comes to social interaction. The world now is being explored inside the comfort of our homes. And the exchange of ideas takes the shape of a virtual platform we all know as internet. When physical distance is no longer an issue and nations around the globe have converge cultures in cyberspace, global village is produced. The one way communication before have evolved to not just a two-way form but in a multimedia process.
Isolated cases still contest the existence of communities that prevent the assimilation of technological advancement. According to Everett Rogers in his study of Diffusion of Innovation, laggards are people who don’t easily adapt with technology and science. The reason of why it happens is another story. Certainly, Filipinos are not laggards. When we had a community immersion to a barangay in Pangasinan for our church, I was surprised to see the locals use the latest gadgets that even we, from Manila, don’t have. It only supports my assumption that Filipinos will experience to have steamed bananas and sweet potatoes for lunch, but never will they left behind in downloading the latest apps in Google play.
Facebook and twitter don’t simply let its users be updated on things, it also shapes culture. The western way of living has an easier way of entering nations including Philippines. This, perhaps, is the same observation that Antonio Gramsci had. Cultural Hegemony starts to complete its process in our society, community, social lives, government, and worst of all, in mass media. Right now, I’m looking for a cure that can save my friends from the horror of cultural imperialism. They all gone crazy with foreign culture that most of the time, they wear what Taylor Swift would wear. And if it is possible, drink what she drinks.
“When the USA has a cold, the whole world sneezes” is an adage which could not be more applicable than today. Nothing but the Internet can be guilty to all of these. Marshal McLuhan’s Technological Determinism will always help us to understand the cultural change of a society because of technology. But then again, we are not just talking about the gadgets itself but also the users. To have a more complex picture of gadget-user relationship, it requires communication scholars like me to bind the ideas of previous theories and weave them together to form a new one.
With that, I coined the term technological penetration. Altman and Taylor used the metaphor of onion layers. But that is when the interaction is between two live beings. To follow the needs of my changing time, I will try to analyze the relationship of a technology and a man.
How much information do we disclose in our social media accounts? There are a lot that sometimes our avatar is more real than us. When our exposure to media is greater than exposure to humans, we unconsciously surrender our core towards a computer monitor. Technically speaking, social media is composed of live beings as well. The difference, and I can say big difference, is the actual affiliation with these people. Since most of them place their identity behind their photos, no one can ever be certain with their intention and personality. Unless you set a meeting with them which will just increase the risk of being in a rough situation because obviously, a criminal can achieve his dirty goals easier with physical contact than having an online chat.
Another disadvantage of technological penetration is the degradation of width where only the breadth of self-disclosure is present. A man can say all the sweet words he could ever think to convince a woman to go with him out for a date. They can talk about all stuff about themselves and not less than an hour, they will start to believe they are spending forever simply because they already know each other’s favorite movie and actor. Again, it can all happen in LESS THAN AN HOUR.
This is the situation that all internet users must be aware of. Institutions should take good effort in educating the public with the violent effects of media in their life. Meanwhile, it should be done without closing the possibilities of its benefits. Every innovation in the world is a product of man’s creative mind. And if we are the one who made all of these, we are suppose to be the manipulators not the manipulated. Dealing, not escaping, is the key.
All the communication theories are helpful in their own way. But their sum is greater than what it can offer separately. I am so fortunate to have a nice head start by analyzing them. It greatly influenced my way of dealing to people. It’s like the other side of social life has been unraveled to me, and I guess I will never look at communication the same way again.
Our class ended and all are so excited with their grades. Well, of course, I am also. But for the first time in my academic life, grades will be my last priority in this subject. Whether I get 1.0 or 2.0, it will never change the fact that I learned a lot. At the very least, I found out that the world of research and theory is as much exciting as media. So if ever all TV networks will drop me out, I know that I can turn to being a communication theorist and devote my knowledge in understanding why a selfie can be a viral topic.
Czesar is no longer ignorant. He is now a better communicator and better in managing assumptions.
When I returned to my senses, I found Ma’am Malaya talking about bananas and condoms. This lady really knows how to make stories sound interesting.