Sorry, Did You Say Something?

tellingmystory2

 

People are rude.  By which I mean they won’t drop everything and listen when I’m talking.

Family members are the worst offenders.

Let’s say my husband is tippity-tappeting on his computer when I approach to share a truly fascinating anecdote.  As I launch into said anecdote, he drags his eyes from the screen (with unbecoming reluctance) and fastens them on my face.  This kind of full-on, direct, eye-to-eye contact lasts about 10 seconds.  Then his eyeballs commit the initial look-back at his computer screen.   Not a long look; just a brief glance.  But this is the beginning of the end.  The no-attention-for-me stone has started rolling down the hill.

I talk faster and start gesturing.

He’s looking at me once more, but his eyes dart away again, even quicker this time.  It’s now about a 5-to-1 ratio of seconds-looking-at-me vs glances-at-the-computer.  The attention stone is rolling faster and it’s gathering no moss.

This is my cue to talk even faster and put more enthusiasm into it.  I’m dropping exclamation points all over the narrative and practically baton-twirling lit sparklers in the fading hope that we will achieve full conversational engagement.

But his attention-to-glances ratio has dropped to 1-to-1.  Even worse, he’s started making the Noncommittal Grunt of Supposed Attention.

“u-huh, u-huh”

Not really signifying agreement, not really a question, it’s a sound that is supposed to indicate he is with me all the way on this.  Clearly, he is not.   He’s looking at the computer now.   He’s gone back to HIS big, important stuff and is no longer even pretending to listen to me.   Once they give you the Noncommittal Grunt of Supposed Attention, you’ve lost them.

Tippity-tappety, tippity-tappety.

The flip side of this rudeness-coin is when somebody starts babbling at me when I’m obviously in the middle of something.  Can’t these people see that I’m busy?  What is WITH that kind of self-centered oblivion?

Bottom line, if you want people to think you have good manners, you need to follow these rules:

  1. If I’m reading/watching/listening to something, zip it.
  2. If I start talking to you, drop everything and listen up.

It’s a simple matter of being polite.

 

 

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About pegoleg

R-A-M-B-L-I-N-G-S, Ram...Blin!
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100 Responses to Sorry, Did You Say Something?

  1. You’ve been talking to my wife, haven’t you?

    Like

  2. bigsheepcommunications says:

    Oh, I am so guilty of this, but in my defense, it’s because the other members of my household start their monologues as they cross the threshold into my home office, without noticing or caring whether or not I’m in the middle of something. (Hey, I’m on twitter for businesses purposes!)

    Like

  3. Elyse says:

    Oh this happens in my house too WHEN will my husband learn not to interrupt me when I’m making brilliant blog comments or posts?

    Like

  4. ooo…so guilty. When I’m talking to my daughters on the phone, they can’t see me right? So I can multi-task on the keyboard, right? Wrong. They can hear that tippity-tappety. “Mom, uh-Mom, YO-Mom…step away from the computer and PLEASE listen to me.” Blush.

    Like

  5. mistyslaws says:

    None of that seems unreasonable to me at all. The hubs does the same thing, and it’s so infuriating. But why when I just sit down to watch a show on TV does he decide he wants to have a long conversation. Can’t he see I’m doing something important? Sigh.

    Like

  6. That’s why I like reading blogs. You have no idea how much [uh-huh, tippety tappety, smile, nod, headbang to music, sip coffee] was going on while I read this post. You are a most marvelous hostess.

    Like

  7. franhunne4u says:

    Uhm – sorry, did you just …*immersed in another blog again*

    Like

  8. dorannrule says:

    “Uh huh.” 🙂 LOL!

    Like

  9. Al says:

    I think hubby is doing his best.

    NOTE; THIS RESPONSE WAS COMPUTER GENERATED. DO NOT TRY TO REPLY. IF YOU HAVE AN ISSUE WITH IT, EMAIL US AT COULDNTCARELESS@YAHOO.COM. THANKS AND HAVE A GOOD DAY.

    Like

  10. Yep, that would be me when I’m trying to work on a blog post and hubby wants to give me a minute-to-minute play-by-play of whatever stupid TV show he just watched. And then he always ends up with, “You should watch it sometime.” Sorry, don’t need to watch it now, I know all about it, thanks so much for sharing and making me lose my train of thought. *sigh*

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      So inconsiderate. Unless, of course, I’m the one interrupting someone’s work to discuss a life-altering TV show. Then it’s perfectly understandable.

      Like

  11. I’ve been waiting for days to see you pop up in my reader!! Thank goodness you’re here!!! Excuse me just a moment while I close up these other screens so I can give this my full attention. BRB….

    Like

  12. lisaspiral says:

    Those are my rules too, you don’t have a problem with that do you? 🙂

    Like

  13. Oh, Peg. Thank you for sharing this delightful and fascinating anecdote. How anyone could resist your sparkl(er)y delivery is beyond me. Looking forward to your next post. Have a groovy day!

    Like

  14. susielindau says:

    EXACTLY! Why don’t people get it? Danny gives me the glaze over when he’s reading the paper. I can see his fingers tracing over the words while he continues to read in braille…..

    Like

  15. Carrie Rubin says:

    Given I have often responded to my husband like your husband has responded to you, I think your two rules make perfect sense. In fact, I will announce them to my household pronto. I’m sure they’ll love and respect them…

    Like

  16. This must be how my husband feels when he bothers me while I’m blogging. Eh, he gets no sympathy from me.
    But you, you get all my sympathy. I mean, not even baton twirling works??!! The nerve of that man.

    By the way, I’d like to tell you that for me there’s no greater joy than seeing your brilliant Paint skillz in my wordpress reader. It’s like Christmas morning for me — Yippee! A post from Pego!!

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Aw, shucks folks. Hey, Darla, did I tell you I took a couple of Photoshop classes at the comm. college? And I bought the cheap version of Photoshop and it just arrived? As soon as I figure out how to get it loaded and how it works, I’m gonna be running with the big dogs. Not that I would ever aspire to YOUR level of mastery (touches forehead to ground in kowtow of utmost respect.)

      Like

  17. jbw0123 says:

    Made me laugh TWICE. Since you’re feeling blue about the Peg-o-Leg gap in Freshly Pressed, maybe it would help if you were named the first Scribbler’s Award Funny Blog winner. Let me know if you’re too busy at the moment, or if the attention makes you nervous. Would you like one of your blog photos to go with it? Nicer than a link, but people SUE when their pictures appear on other peoples’ blogs. OK, actually, already put your header up, but really, it’s all for you!

    Thank you for the interpretation of the Noncommittal Grunt, and for letting us know that baton twirling and sparklers don’t help. I’d tell you what works at my house, but it’s kind of embarrassing and might get your sensors to boot me off.

    Like

  18. What you have to do if you want to speak is go up to him and say “I want to tell you about something, but I’ll wait” and then look over his shoulder at what he’s doing on the computer, this will guarantee to make him stop and give you his attention. Then if at any time he looks back at the screen, you stop and say “ok I’ll wait” and again peer over his shoulder. This is a proven training method. As for the other one, tune in next week.

    Like

  19. My partner is a political news junkie and insists on ready long boring articles to me while I’m trying to play Farmville2. I mean c’mon, can’t he see I’m doing something important??

    Like

  20. Bill Carson says:

    Great article! Glad I gave you my undivided attention. I have a similarly ironic relationship with my cat. Never there when I need attention, but always there when I don’t.

    Like

  21. Oooo, I am as guilty if not more so than your husband, when it comes to that ratio. It’s more like -10 to 1. I even have the audacity to tell my husband that I am still listening but that I need to finish up something…tippity tappity, clickity clank. But GOD forbid he ignores me while he’s watching tv! I love how you described the eyes darting back and forth. 🙂

    Like

  22. Libertarian says:

    Peg, I am so fascinated… uh huh, uh huh…

    Like

  23. 42 likes and counting! Obviously someone is listening!

    Like

  24. I appreciate the dual conclusion. This is very much what I think women need to know about trying to interrupt a man’s viewing of, say, sportball of any kind, by attempting a conversation. It’s not the right time. We have to accept that. Similarly, I often have to will myself to stop trying to finish that email that I have to finish or I’ll forget what I’m saying when, say, my boss wanders into my officle to talk with me about something. It’s not good to type while your boss is trying to talk to you. Even if you DO forget what you’re doing.

    Like

  25. I hear ya Peg. You were saying … oh, wait, call coming in… (mumble jumble). Hey, can I call you back? (just kiddin’)
    I wait for the commercials if I need Pat’s attention. As for students, well, ha!, that’s a whole other blog post.
    Love your work, Pegoliciousness 🙂

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      I know I should wait for the commercials. I was reading something while Bill was trying to watch some show last night and I said “listen to this” and launched for about a sentence when I remembered my own blog and stopped .”er, are you listening to this program?” “Yes” he said. So I shut up.
      Very hard to do.

      Like

  26. momshieb says:

    Huh. You have just described the life of an elementary school teacher. You should see the amazing eye slipping antics of fifth graders during a lesson on multiplying fractions!

    Like

  27. Shocking. These people just don’t appreciate what goes into making a great work of art. How can you be expected to concentrate when there are people jibber jabbering with their meaningless stories?

    Like

  28. Agreed. It is a simple matter to be polite. It seems to be a lost art. I’ve had whole conversations with He-Who without even realizing he left the room. How rude!

    Like

  29. rachelocal says:

    Everyone’s a raging narcissist these days, Peg. There should be nary an eyelash flutter when we speak!

    Like

  30. We’ve turned a guest room into my “writing room.” I love the privacy where I can concentrate. But Husband comes in at his will, sits down, and started telling me … whatever he starts telling me. If I allow it to, it can block my thought process and make me lose the perfect phrase.

    I don’t invite comments when I’m writing, so what’s a body to do?

    Like

  31. Mike says:

    Clarity at last for What Women Want. My thanks indeed…ma’am.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      This is merely the tip of the What Women Want Iceberg. Interrupting because you are delivering diamonds, chocolates and flowers is sometimes allowed.

      You’re welcome.

      Like

  32. Maybe you should try flaming tassels, twirled in opposite directions. I am told this has a mesmerizing affect on men. Really, mesmerizing.

    I stopped everything to read this Peg. I feel you, I do.

    Like

  33. Reggie does the same thing if I’m on the computer and he wants my attention. Well he doesn’t twirl a baton (no opposable thumbs) but he does wag his tail and roll over for a belly rub. Hard to resist that. 🙂

    Like

  34. Snoring Dog Studio says:

    I’m thankful for the rewind button on the remote. When my mom’s in the room and I’m watching TV, I have to use it a lot.

    Like

  35. amelie88 says:

    I love your rules and I think everyone should follow them. I think everyone in my family does this to an extent. I think the worst is if someone tries to interrupt me while I’m watching Castle or Mysteries at the Museum on the Travel Channel (you truly haven’t known greatness until you’ve seen the host Don Wildman wandering around some tastefully laid out attic/museum kind of room with random artifacts wearing his trademark coat as he narrates in his dramatic way the history behind an artifact).

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      HAHAHAHA! This is hysterical to me because, as I mentioned to my sister Tar-buns above, I started reading to my hubby when he was watching TV this weekend and caught myself and stopped. What was he watching? Mysteries at The Museum.

      Like

      • amelie88 says:

        That is hysterical! Your husband has good taste (even if he does ignore you) and I can understand not wanting to be interrupted while watching that show.

        Like

  36. Barb says:

    I think there’s a man-book which all guys study that instructs them in the art of semi-listening. They all seem to have studied it.

    Like

  37. whingeybitch says:

    sounds like you need to take on the ‘naked approach’ (when you want attention be naked)… this can however lead to unwanted attention, use with caution.

    Like

  38. lexiemom says:

    Sorry, Peg, but children are MUCH worse at this than husbands. I’m online with my good friend I haven’t seen in a year, or I’m in the middle of the finale episode I’ve been dying to watch all week, or the phone rings and its the doctor with the result of that scan, or some other thing equally important to me…immediately I hear, Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom!! It reminds me of the episode of Family Guy where Stewie is trying to get his mother’s attention: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cNkp4QF3we8

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      I don’t even like that show and I LOVE that episode. I remember those days vividly with the kids.
      With the Hubster it isn’t so much him interrupting me, as him not letting me successfully interrupt him.

      Like

  39. pattisj says:

    Whew! I’m off the hook! I’m the one tapping away most of the time.

    Like

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