Why do people think that whatever they are reading is more important than what you’re doing?
My dad and I were sitting companionably in his living room, each buried behind our respective sections of the Sunday paper. I was perusing a fascinating article on something-or-other. His article on a different something-or-other was even more fascinating, apparently.
“Didja hear about this, Peg?” he said, and started reading aloud.
I mentally marked my spot, lowered the paper and looked up. When he came to the end of the passage he looked expectantly for my reaction.
“I DID not know that” I said. I really hadn’t. I smiled and went back to my paper.
I got through two more lines before Dad piped up again. “Not only that, it says here…” and he launched into another not-to-be-missed tidbit from the aforementioned article. I slowly lowered my paper. When he finished the passage and looked over, I summoned up a reasonable facsimile of an interested expression.
“Really!” I exclaimed with faint enthusiasm.
I resumed reading, marking my annoyance at the interruption with a mild snap of my paper. Just a little snap.
I tried to take up where I left off, but I couldn’t concentrate. I was waiting for the next read-aloud shoe to drop. I didn’t have long to wait. Dad jumped into the next paragraph without even checking to see if I was onboard.
I stayed hidden behind my section for a full two seconds before convincing myself such boorish behavior was beneath me, then slowly lowered it. It looked like I was resigned to sharing this article with Dad, and it was time to give in with some semblance of grace. I maintained a polite expression of interest for the duration. More or less.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not picking on my dad. He’s an interesting fellow. It’s not him, it’s me. When someone does something that annoys me, it’s usually because they’re forcing me to look in the mirror.
I do this same “didja hear” thing all the time.
When I read something that gets my dander up, especially if it’s political, I’ve got to share. My usual audience is my long-suffering hubby, Bill. We always hurt the ones we love.
“Listen to what those num-nuts on Capitol Hill are doing now!” I’ll shriek in outrage, sharing the source of my anger with no regard for his agenda.
So they’re about to reveal whodunit on that cliff-hanger TV show he’s been watching all season? Catch it later on Hulu.
So the team he follows is one touchdown (or basket or tiddly-wink flip) away from the championship? It’s only a game.
So he’s reading some dusty tome about the civil war? Spoiler alert – the North wins.
When my undies are in a bunch I’ve got to let somebody know about it right, damn now!
I’m ashamed when I realize how self-centered I’ve been. From now on, I’m going to stop and consider the other person’s wishes before I decide to “share”.
I can’t wait to get home and explain my new resolution to Bill. He’s probably watching American Idol right now, but I KNOW he’d much rather talk about how considerate I’m going to be from now on.
Just one more day to vote for your fave in The Jacket Writing Competition. C’mon, you know you want to!