The Way Things Are






And your point is
2005-03-15, 12:26 p.m.

When will DW and I ever learn to communicate with each other? We each talk to each other constantly, but neither knows how to interpret the other’s yattering to separate the important stuff from the filler, and get the point. Now, before you get all concerned, it’s nothing serious, but it is irritating for both of us.

Here it is from my point of view. DW will do a kind of spiral landing toward the point. There are all kinds of extraneous information given, amusing anecdotes, tangents, rabbit trails, and half-finished thoughts. It’s a scary glimpse inside his head. OK, it’s not THAT scary. But he doesn’t just say “I’m going to be at the home site from 4:30 to 5:00. If you get off work early, come on by and look at paint colors. If you can’t make it, we’ll look at paint tomorrow.” No, I have to listen to tales of meetings with the fire chief (on totally unrelated business of his), and what Gary the framer thinks, and how mad he is at the sheetrock guy, and what everyone’s schedule is, and when the paint store closes on Saturday, and when his tee time is on Friday, and then he never quite lands on the point. There’s the spiral: the tangents, the rabbit trails, the stories, the asides, but no actual emphasis on the point. Sometimes he forgets to get to the point. So I can’t tell what I’m supposed to be getting from what he is telling me. And folks, this is dangerous, because I have started to TUNE HIM OUT. Dun dun DUUUUHHHHHNNNNN!

Plus, he seems to think aloud his to-do list. He’ll mutter “We need to start ordering the trim work, and then get it painted, and figure out how high the trim needs to be to clear the floor….” and he’ll kind of go on and on and on…and then I TUNE HIM OUT, and all of a sudden, the next morning, I haven’t picked out what kind of floor we’re using, and I’m holding up the progress of the project. What? When did you tell me it’s go-time for picking out the floor? Oh, last week? When you were rambling? All right. Oh, and I need to find a paint store that sells our brand of paint and choose a trim color NOW so we can get it ordered? All right, all you have to do is tell me. Oh, you did? Hmmmm.

But it goes both ways. I’ll tell him something, and I’m completely to-the-point, or so I think. I will tell him “Mr. Surly is going out of town. We have a different Lil Guy schedule. LG is with his dad on Monday and Tuesday, and we’ll have him with us Wednesday through Friday.” I try not to confuse him, or cloak the point in anecdotes. But he doesn’t listen. It’s almost as though I should go through a pre-point windup to get him warmed up and ready to listen. I just clearly and concisely state the facts, and perhaps he expects me to talk like he does, with all kinds of information leading up the point, such as weather predictions and stock reports, and then BAM leap onto the point with a loud HAH!

It’s just so funny. We both miss each other’s points so often. He swears he told me to do something, and I swear he was muttering about how “we” needed to do whatever it was at some point, but I missed the part where he told me I needed to actually get it done and when. I’ll swear I told him something, and he says “You did?” and I say “Yes,” and he says, “I probably wasn’t listening.” At least he’s honest.

I have to really resist the temptation to teach him how to talk. He’ll be talking about nothing in particular, and then out of nowhere he says, “So there’s the blue…” And what do I think? I think baseball umpire, as in “What’s the count, Blue?” No, he’s not talking about baseball; he’s talking about blue paint.

Speaking of paint, I fear that I have painted him here as an idiot. He’s not – he just has to tell you everything about anything he talks about, and he tends to leave out words because he figures if it is clear in his head what he means, it must be clear to you, too.

I’ll put it this way. I could never work for the man. I love him, I can live with him, but I could never work for or with him. Completely different communication styles when it comes to relaying important logistical information.

But he’ll dance to anything, and how could I not love that?

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