Last night there was a brief conversation in my house that reminded me of how often reality and perception do not coincide.
Chip came home from a long day at Uni and when he went to the bedroom to change into comfy clothes, he noticed the tripod set up where I had left it after recording the Facebook video. His first thought was not that I had been recording an innocuous 'talking-head' video, but rather a more steamy version of a bedroom video. His shocked "What have you been up too?" reaction caught me by surprise.
It shouldn't have.
People are always jumping to the wrong conclusion, making wrong assumptions and generally mis-reading reality. It is a hallmark of our species. All you have to do to verify this is to watch politics for awhile. There is an old saw about a husband who always buys his wife flowers when he messes up and then one day he spontaneously decides to buy her flowers just because he loves her. Of course, things don't go as he planned. Her first words are 'What did you do this time?"
For writers this can make for a rich and evocative plot point - mis-understandings are a great way to raise tension. We just need to remember to make them real so that we match with our reader's perceptions!