On a recent trip to Virginia, one particular whine began to grow louder and more constant, so much so that I was afraid the car would not make it all the way back home to South Carolina. Fortunately, all seems relatively stable, though the quasi-vocal alert still comes from the body. I don't know what the sound means, but surely it means something. And in my ignorance, anxiety arises.
When people hear the word interpretation, they often think about translating meaning from one language to another. Yet, rightly understood, interpretation is involved in every interaction we have. We must interpret body language, spatial formation, location, tone, timbre, melody, rhythm, rhyme, shade, color, light, texture, shape, and a myriad of other phenomena that contribute to the meaning in the world around us and those with whom we communicate. Interpretation, then, is ultimately about comprehension and application.
For my car, we need people like the good Lutherans at Professional Tire and Radiator on North Main Street in Columbia, SC (check out their website at http://ptrsc.com/) who know how to put together the make of the car, the kind of driving I do, the particular noise, and the previous work done in order to diagnose the problem - to interpret all of the data - and then to treat the issue at hand.
The second part, the response to the communication, is perhaps the most difficult problem. While "the squeaky wheel gets the grease" is an adage all too true, but sometime squeaky wheels need something other than lubricant. If the wheel squeaks because of a flat tire or a bent frame, then no amount of salve will solve the actual problem. Interpretation means finding and addressing the truth at hand.