|We wear matching shirts sometimes. Because we are nerds.|
I don't know about you, but I'm often absorbed in my own head. I'm thinking about lots of different things, I'm also trying to read something, plus I'm stirring something on the stove. Some people call this scattered, but I just call it multi-tasking. ;-)
When you're lost in your own thoughts, and another introverted adult (who also happens to be my gorgeous husband) happens upon you, wanting to start a conversation with you, it generally goes something like this:
"Hey hon. Did you remember to pick up that cheese we need for tomorrow?"
It is now the generally accepted social norm that there will be a pause as you think about your answer:
"Hum? Oh, right. Yes, I did. Though they didn't have the goat cheese I wanted, so I got feta instead. I think that'll go fine in the recipe."
"OK great, thanks."
We both go back to whatever we were thinking about previously. We co-exist in the kitchen together in companionable silence. We are both happy.
The following is what happens when one of my children happens upon me lost in my own thoughts:
There is no expectation of a pause of any sort. If you do not immediately respond, they will continue shouting your name at you until you do.
I can't help it, I have a low threshold startle reflex. :0 They always catch me off guard.
"I have to ask you a question!"
I had already clued into that, but no matter. You must acknowledge, or they will not proceed. I now have to respond a second time, and let the record reflect that NO QUESTION HAS YET BEEN ASKED.
"Yes, Dear, what is your question?"
"Can I (fill in the blank. Usually something they know they are not allowed to do)."
"No honey, we've already talked about this."
"BUT...*insert incessant whining here*"
There is no end to this painful social interaction. :0 It goes on and on until either (a) the child is satisfied (pretty unlikely), or (b) they are sent to their room in tears.
It is all quite exhausting. Parents, let us BAND TOGETHER IN SOLIDARITY! Which translates to a virtual community glass of wine after the children go to bed.
On this same social note, Anne and I were out for a neighborhood walk together this past Sunday afternoon. I was pulling her along in her little wagon, her multitude of saint dolls also along for the ride. Suddenly, a women who was headed out to her car calls out to us:
"Do you go to St. Paul's?"
See, I had the pausal expectation on my side, so we were all good. I had no idea who this woman was, but she clearly goes to our church. I processed this all for several blissful seconds.
"I see you and your children there all the time! How lovely...(lots of highly pleasant talk of the parish and Catholic family life).
In the past, I would have been terrible at navigating such a scenario. While I was talking to the original lady, another woman came out. A mother/daughter conversation team! Talking to people that I do not know used to fill me with anxious awkwardness. Now, though I don't seek out such opportunities (who else hates ordering takeout over the phone?! Online reservation form COME TO MAMA!!) I actually enjoy putting myself out there and talking to other people. We now have a new friend at the 11 am Mass, and I couldn't be more thrilled.
How about you, dear reader? Do you relish or dread social interactions with unknown fellow humans?