Ray ran into the house from the backyard to find his aunt standing just inside the door. “Do you mind me?” his aunt scolded.
Ray was confused by the question and the way it was asked. “What do you mean?”
She repeated her question, clearly angry at her nine-year-old nephew.
Ray stood frozen, trying to decide how to answer a question he didn’t understand. He’d heard people use the word “mind,” but never the way his aunt had used it. His mother might ask him if he would mind doing this or that for her. His father would say that his mother constantly changed her mind.
Ray finally interpreted his aunt’s question about whether he minded her to mean, “Do I bother you?”
“No, I don’t mind you at all!” Ray was proud of himself for figuring out what she meant by her question, but he still didn’t know why she asked it. So he posed that question to her. “Why do you want to know if I mind you?”
Exasperated his aunt said, “I told you to not soil your clothes before we left for church. But look at you! You’ve got mud all over your pants cuffs and your shoes are crusted with mud.”
Ray looked down and saw that his pants and shoes were, indeed, quite soiled. Then he realized that when she asked, “Do you mind me?” she meant “Do you listen to me?”
This was how a nine-year-old boy first discovered how nuanced the English language can be.
This post is for today’s one-word prompt, “soil.”