Please Be Quiet
People I’ve come across in my lifetime have often complimented me on my ability to listen. I appreciate the recognition.
Right now I have so much going through my head due to my husband’s ALS illness and the rearrangements of the household and my work and routine and his routine and shoring up the emotional state of our daughter as she launches into a competitive consuming medical career worried about her father, that I don’t have the energy to listen to anyone’s silly stories about their aunt’s cousin’s nephew’s dog’s breeders’ affairs.
Not to say others’ stories and sagas and trials are not important. Of course they are. And I do care. I just don’t have the bandwidth right now to process them. Why don’t we recognize those moments for each other?
If you insist, you can blather on and on about your petty inconveniences, but if you see my eyes glazed over, there’s a reason. I’m not listening and the words going through my head are: “will you shut the heck up.” I’m watching your lips move and I’m wondering what planet you’re on.
I’ve noticed since going through this un-fun part of life that it’s as if many people are so invested in conversation “exchange,” and if they must listen to my woes, they feel entitled to dump theirs on me. Immediately.
You must be kidding. You must be high or drunk.
My friend P is exempt from my request for measured conversation. She has been with me virtually since Day One this year. She lost her mother early in the year about the same time I learned I may be losing my husband. Daily she checks on me. Daily I try to check on her. I’m so invested now in her kitchen renovation, it’s actually relaxing to me. Not to her of course. But she’s been through it with me and we’ve helped one another with our exchange of struggles this year. She’s there for me, I know it, and I can easily listen to her stories. And she listens to mine.
Just want to be honest.
Thanks P. Shut the heck up everyone else.
“listen for twice as long as you speak” ― John Burley
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