[The setting: a Saturday morning at a suburban home in North Florida, USA. He has been experiencing back pain for a few days; she approaches him in the kitchen, question marks in her eyes.]
She: How’s your back?
He: Still not normal.
She: Where is it? What sort of pain is it?
[He has been expecting and preparing mentally for this line of questioning, but hasn’t quite nailed down his metaphors yet.]
He: I don’t know — it’s hard to describe…
She: Try anyway.
He: It feels, well, wobbly. It’s like when you take a… a dozen Lincoln Logs, say, and they’re stacked end-to-end in a, like, a tower, and you’re trying not to let ’em topple but—
[She holds up the palm of her hand, stopping him.]
She: Wait. You need to use terms I can understand.
He: Such as—?
She: Well, say my martini glass is too full, up to the brim, and you’re carrying it to me while holding the base of the stem…
[A momentary pause, giving him time to recognize his confusion as such.]
He: [rolling his eyes] Yes. It’s exactly like that.