Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Tactful

My aunt, who lives three hours' drive away, to my mother:

"If our car had to get stolen, it's convenient that it happened this week, so that we had a reason to come down to Christchurch while you were in hospital. I mean, it's such a long drive and so much hassle, so we wouldn't have done it just to see you, but since we had to buy a car, it kind of made sense to visit."

Let me do that math:

Buying a car = good enough reason to travel to Christchurch
Visiting sister with cancer != good enough reason to travel to Christchurch
:. Buying a car > visiting sister with cancer

11 Comments:

Ianqui said...

Well, it seems that this tact, or lack thereof, seems to run in the family. At least your mother isn't alone. What was her reaction?

Anastasia said...

oh my stars. how tacky.

Anastasia said...

wait, no...i meant to say: how tacky is that??

and you're not meant to answer that question :)

RageyOne said...

goodness! that just reeks with tackiness!

StyleyGeek said...

You Americans use the word "tacky" slightly differently from me :) I had noticed this once or twice in the past, but I thought it was just individuals with funny ways of talking. Then the comments to this post sent me to the dictionary.

The online "American Heritage Dictionary" defines "tacky" as:

1. Neglected and in a state of disrepair: a tacky old cabin in the woods.
2.1. Lacking style or good taste; tawdry: tacky clothes.
2.2. Distasteful or offensive; tasteless: a tacky remark.

I think I have only ever used/heard the sense labeled 2.1. before. Maybe I'm defective :)

Bardiac said...

You're anything but, Styley Geek!

Sometimes people just don't seem to think. And it hurts :(

/comfort

Kisha said...

Yes, Americans use "tacky" for definition 2.1 and 2.2 though I think the two things are quite similar. (I guess thus making them both a variation of the same definition.) However "tactful" (the title of the post) is the opposite of "tacky." And I guess "tact" and "tack" are not related at all--but us Americans wrongly use them as if they are from the same family. Anyhow, I assume that the title of the post was sarcastic. Because your aunt's comments were lacking tact and therefore tacky. He He.

But maybe she was just trying to make your mom feel like: "Don't worry its no big deal that you are sick. Don't freak out--we are not concerned that your life is in danger so you shouldn't be either. This is no big deal and doesn't even warrant a visit. Don't worry." While at the same time know they really NEED to visit and are way too frightened to vocalize the truth.

WhatLadder said...

Your aunt sounds so much like my mother, I think we could be cousins.

StyleyGeek said...

Yeah, that's the difference, Kisha. For me, tactful and tacky are not opposites, because "tactful" can only be used to refer to things people say, and "tacky" can only be used of actual objects (or colour schemes, or clothes or whatever, but definitely physical things).

And maybe you are right about your interpretation of my aunt's comment. Interesting...

Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

So, I'm assuming that her sister isn't much help -- what with being consumed with breaking in the new car and all... sigh.

Anastasia said...

i think anything can be tacky.