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What Part Of Me Doing A Thousand Different Things When I’m Listening To You...

Updated on November 18, 2008

To me, I think it's pretty obvious. While I'm the first to admit that I was born for the short attention span theatre of life this does not factor in when I'm talking to certain people. Whether it's on the phone or in person, if I start to do stuff like fold my laundry, straighten things up, it's not because I'm OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder - for the three of you who don't know what that is) it's because hello, you're boring me! What part of me doing a thousand different things when I'm listening to you makes you not get that I'm not interested in what you have to say? - Don't Get Me Started!

Let me assist you in how it starts for me. In the beginning I'm right there with you. I have a load of empathy which causes me to no longer be able to watch shows like Extreme Home Makeover. I literally have a fear of my tear ducts completely drying up if I watch these shows; in short (which I am) I become a complete blithering mess sobbing to the point that my nose starts running like a four year old on a playground. I have spent long nights staying up listening to a friend explain all the reasons the person they're dating is a jerk only to be invited to dinner with them and the jerk the following evening. The person who was bitching is bright-eyed as a daisy full of love and there I sit with the daisy, the jerk and I look and feel like hell because I didn't get any sleep and to top it off they didn't even break-up so where I ask is my payment for listening to all this shit? Some would say that it comes with being a good friend. And I certainly do consider myself to be a good friend but when it comes to acquaintances or business people who are always trying to sell you something (even if it's just to go along with their idea) I refuse to give these people the same attention as a true friend with a crisis on their hands (whether it be self-inflicted, imagined or the real deal).

You see, I seem to have one of "those" faces. You know, the kind that people feel as though they can share all of their intimate details with and it will not only make them feel better by getting it off their chest but I will also somehow wave my fairy wand (watch the comments kids) and make it all better at the same time. I get this from the woman at my dry cleaner to people I work with and as I've never prided myself on being a patient person, let me just say that if you can't get it all out in under five minutes you deserve what's coming your way. If I'm on the phone with you and you're having a monologue instead of a dialogue then I will turn the television on as the first line of attack. I'm not so insensitive (or stupid) as to not have it on mute but you may hear me chuckle in an inopportune time because something funny just happened on television while you were telling me about you losing your job and your front tooth. From there I may actually begin to clean my house, feed the cats or in some cases, ever so gingerly begin to type a blog like this one about how I'm not paying attention to you.

If you're talking to me in person and begin to go on too long I may do one of many things. If you're my mother (who goes on and on and back around to telling the same thing over and over again like it's on some strange looped recording) I may play the silent movie director and with my index finger pointed to the side and violently rotate it to make the "wrap it up" motion. Or I may point to a spot somewhere in the air and say, "Here's you're point" and then do my best mime searching in the dark for nothing and then say, "here's me." If it goes on way too long I'll just say, "Sum it up."

You may think that this is rude but in fact it's not at all. I'm not saying I start this stuff the minute that you're talking to me but if the story involves more than three people and is impossible to keep straight then rest assured I'm going to be wondering what I'm having for dinner and/or thinking about whether or not I should get a haircut or doing one or many of the things listed above.

The other side to this is that in life, in my job I have to be a multi-tasker so much like a Mom who manages to yell at a kid with her eyes while on the phone with her sister gushing over the new haircut she got, I can do many things at once. It reminds me of the song, "Woman" that Peggy Lee sang. "I can listen to a friend bitch and criticize her at the same time. I can watch the TV and make a drink with a twist of lime. I can squeeze into a pair of jeans that shouldn't fit and look great. Shave, moisturize, deodorize, accessorize and show up fashionably late. Cause I'm a homo, H to the O-M-O!"

But when you go on and on and see me drifting please for God's sake either change the subject or maybe just maybe take a long enough breath that I might be able to interject something into the supposed conversation we're having. And make no mistake about it, if you don't be ready because what part of me doing a thousand different things when I'm listening to you makes you not get that I'm not interested in what you have to say? - Don't Get Me Started!

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    • Patricia Costanzo profile image

      Patricia Costanzo 9 years ago from Behind the Redwood Curtain

      Ahh, but its just your lease in life. Ehh? Me too. I must have that listener face too. What would they do without us though. Really. Shudder to think.

    • profile image

      sean 9 years ago

      I like the "wrap it up" signal; sometimes when I get on the phone with someone I know is going to talk for-ever, I let them know in advance I have a short window of opportunity, that way if I have something to convey, I know I can get it in there, and be done with it. It seems to work whether I'm the caller or the callee. Try it ! You're welcome.