Suburban Snapshots

Waiting to Talk

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I remember when I heard the saying, "There's a difference between someone who listens and someone who's just waiting to talk." I was like, oh my God, that's me. I decided then to make more of an effort to really listen to people, to process what they were telling me, and to respond in a way that proved I was hearing them, and not just waiting to interject with my own monologue.

I've always related to people in that way, I'm sure a lot of us do — someone tells you what's happening with them and you yank some old dusty anecdote from your own past with a similar series of events, asshole ex-boyfriend or idiot boss. But my brain often gets ahead of the person I'm with, so that the story is lurching out of my mouth before they've finished their sentence, and though I've tried and tried to work on this, I think being employed full-time from home has only made things worse.

Over the past several weeks I've been able to go out to a handful of dinners without spouse or child, because my husband is awesome and considerate, and even though I play part-time mom to his full-time dad, he only flinches when I request a night out if the place sounds expensive. (Prior to my realizing I should actually request these nights out, I'd just announce that I'd made plans. Then I remembered new-mom friends categorizing this as sex-strike behavior coming from their uninitiated husbands).

After 8 or so hours in front of a computer, maybe a solo workout if it's a motivated kind of day, I get to these rendezvous and become utterly possessed. The part of me that's only communicated with other humans via status updates or in the third person (Why, by the way, is this a universal parent thing? You know you found it annoying before you had kids, and now you're all "Mommy has to go pee, Mommy's working, Mommy's not drunk she's just sleepy...") is like, "HELLS YEAH! WE OUT, BITCHES!"

As I sit with my interesting, hilarious companions, I notice that after 45 minutes I haven't glanced at a menu, my wine is still mostly full, and that I've got simultaneous inner dialogues: one that's sharing stories with friends and another one that's going, "Holy shit, can you shut yourself up for like ten seconds?"

I guess I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank my amazing friends for listening and laughing, and to assure you that I really am hearing you, that I love your company, and to suggest that maybe you bring duct tape to our next get together.

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