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How showing concern can bite you in the bum….

So I was blog-hopping this fine evening and I stumbled upon Gretchen Rubin’s blog, The Happiness Project where she was discussing Eight Tips to Know if You’re Being Boring. Being the narcissistic gal that I am, I was studying her every word, imagining my conversations, and people’s reactions. Then my mind kinda started wandering, as any self diagnosed ADD sufferer’s mind usually does, to how I react. Because after all, it is all about me.

Then I got to #4, Request for Clarification. So the logic is that if you are really interested you ask them to elaborate or explain. And I was all excited that perhaps I had fooled people. Namely, Hubby. Because I do that when I haven’t been paying attention to what he’s been saying. Kinda like a backtrack, like clues into what was said. So I have a smart reply. Or I’ll settle for any reply. Because there’s nothing worse than the ‘deer in the headlights’ look when you’re asked a question relating to the boring topic.

It usually goes a little something like this:

Husband: “Babydoll (cuz he calls me that and it freakin’ gives me butterflies), did the sprinkler guy come out today (because our fabulously huge, strong, expensive, beautiful, kind dog has eaten through it again, and the AC wires, and the picnic table, and the hoses, and the thingy that holds the hoses on the cement walls, and the telephone wires, and and and….)?

Me: “Yes, I called. He came out. Fixed it. Go take a look.”

Husband goes outside, I unpase movie, he pets Bad Dog, checks wire thingys, comes back in….

Husband: “It looks good. The wires blah blah blah {insert more boring man stuff here} blah blah blah”

Me: {Lifetime Movie totally paused to show concern} “So, the wires go to what and they make the sprinklers do what?

Husband: “Blah, blah, blah….”

Me: “Oh really?”

Husband: “Blah, blah, blah,… Christmas shopping at Kohl’s”

and then I’m all like crap! What did I miss? Did I go shopping. Can I go shopping. For me? For Cole? For a gift? So I listen now, intently. I hang on every word he says to try to get clarification. Because if I asked anything about it he would catch on. Catch on that I wasn’t listening the first time, I was just waiting to unpause Lifetime.

Husband: “So I was thinking about the budget,…”

and just like that, he’s lost me again. Budgets are never fun to talk about. And now I suspect that since the budget came up in the same conversation as shopping, it’s probably because I already did go shopping at Kohl’s. And I’m probably in trouble.


  1. In my house, both my husband and I do this. We tune out. We go somewhere else. We remain distracted even when our spouse is talking to us and there are no children underfoot. It used to be one-sided. I would always pay attention to him. I wouldn’t ever miss a word. And I would be somewhat miffed when I realized that he quite frequently DID miss what I was saying.

    Now I am enlightened by tuning out from time to time, especially when my husband talks about work. Which goes something like what you were saying actually, “Wires, blah blah blah, computers, blah blah blah, New Job, blah blahgity blah.”

    I have to say it’s pretty liberating to cut myself the slack to tune on out from time to time. Truth is, sometimes people just need to talk stuff out, get it out of their minds, but they don’t always need an audience. I think that’s a damn valid excuse for MY behavior, anyway. I wonder what HIS excuse would be.

  2. Wait. Did you say something? I was focused on the Lifetime movie. 🙂
    Seriously, though, I HEAR YOU. My partner likes to tell me all of the details of all of the stuff I don’t feel I need to do. And, incidentally, none of the details of stuff I’d like to talk about. Maybe I should write about this. Hmm…
    Hope you got to go shopping.

  3. I am in the habit of tuning out kids, particularly if they are teenagers and older. LOL!

    Of course, it works in reverse and the kids tune out me.

    Great words but could you clarify….. LOL!

  4. I am so with Sarah on this! I was ALWAYS the listener. I never missed a beat, always focused, always attentive. And I’d get so so so annoyed when Tim was staring at the TV, at his blackberry, at his whatever while I was talking. He’d say he was listening but we all know, if they aren’t looking at you they can’t TOTALLY be listening. But now, I allow myself to tune out. I’m ok with being on my computer while he drones on about this or that (no, sweetie, i DO NOT care who got drafted by this team or another). I love not feeling the pressure to listen All The Time 100%. I deserve it. We all do.

  5. Ha, I found myself grinning while reading this, but because I’m the one who rambles on and my husband is the one who glosses over. So I was thinking…ha, your husband totally knows that you’ve tuned him out already. You might as well go ahead and ask!

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