Can You Hear Me Now?

Communication is a funny thing. We all want to be heard even though we really don’t have anything to say.

“I thank you for your interest but it really wasn’t worth listening,” I heard son #1 say to son #2 last evening. He had been making some off the wall comment mainly to himself when his younger brother took his headphones off of one ear to say, “huh?” At least they were being polite to each other and trying to communicate.

heardI feel the same way son #1 did often in life. I will say something and it’s not profound. It’s nice to be acknowledged but it’s usually not worth repeating if someone doesn’t hear me the first time. I am often not heard. I think that’s from too many years of being shy and not speaking loudly enough. I mumble and my comments get overlooked. It’s odd because I can be plenty loud at home.

I also use far less classy language at home. I’m not proud to admit that I swear more than my trucker husband does. It’s a bad habit that I developed as a teenager. I was a shy kid and a nauseatingly good girl. I always behaved out in public and never wanted to disappoint my parents. I started swearing in high school because it was a secret way of defying my mother. My mother would’ve been horrified at some of the things that came out of my mouth when I was talking to friends. That’s why I did it and now that I’ve been doing it for 40 years, I don’t think it’s going to go away any time soon. I try not to do it at work because I know better than that. I try to say things like “oh, crap” or “oh for heaven’s sake” when things go wrong and I feel the need to curse. It’s not quite the same, though.

I’ve had issues recently with a new person at work. I can be socially awkward but I’m usually never intentionally rude. When someone talks to me, I answer him or her. This individual doesn’t respond in social situations – ever. If you say “hi” or “hello”, this person looks you in the eye, says nothing and walks away. Someone else suggested that possibly this person is autistic. I took offense to that. I know autism. My son has it. He answers people when they address him. I taught him how to behave in public. The rude person at work walked away from me without speaking again yesterday. I ended up sticking my tongue out at the back of this person’s head. Yes, I’m real mature. I’ve been told that before.

My work day started yesterday with a shower of stones and pebbles coming off the rooftop of a building I was passing. I thought it was hail until I realized it was concrete. They were working on the roof of the building. You’d think they could’ve blocked the walkway off, huh? Talk about wanting to curse out loud. Then I came out onto our city’s main street to find a raving street person coming towards me. There are quite a few disturbed (drunk, high or whacked) people wandering around downtown. I could hear this one coming from blocks away. I started to move to the edge of the sidewalk closer to the street (to his left) and I did not make eye contact. As he approached me, he yelled, “Get your ass to the left!”  He yelled the same thing at someone behind me, too. Okay, at least I’ve never yelled that at anyone. Maybe I should try it out at work sometime. Can you imagine the reaction?

I suppose in this guy’s mind he was just communicating. He wanted to be heard so he made sure that he used his outdoor voice. While I didn’t appreciate his choice of words, it had the desired effect. No one got in his way.

Image courtesy of Pinterest

A to Z Blog Challenge – T is for Tillie

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Tillie was running late for work when she hurried into the school building from the staff parking lot. She waved hello to the hallway monitor as she quickly moved down the hallway towards her office.

“Good morning, Lois,” she called to the department secretary as she entered their work area.

“Hi, Tillie,” Lois smiled, “Annelise is in the small conference room. She’s been working on a picture while she was waiting.”

Tillie took a moment to hang up her coat and put her purse away. When she was ready, she joined the little girl in the small meeting room.

“Good morning, Annelise, how are you?” Tillie asked.

“I’m okay,” she said.

“My name is Mrs. McGrew,” Tillie said, “I’m the school psychologist. Do you know what a psychologist is?”

Annelise shook her head ‘no’.

“I try to help people,” Tillie said, “I listen to them when they are sad or mad or upset. Sometimes people need to talk to someone, and it makes them feel better when they do. Do you know why you’re here, sweetie?”

She nodded. “I was crying in the classroom.”

“Yes,” Tillie said, “Miss Gleason told me, and we both talked to your Mommy. We all thought you might like someone to talk to. Would it be okay if we talked?”

Annelise nodded.

“Can you show me what you were drawing?”

Annelise sat back from her drawing, and Tillie turned it so she could see it better.

“Where is this?” Tillie asked.

“The park,” Annelise said.

“Who is that sitting on the bench?”

“Grandpa Barney,” Annelise said, “He’s my friend.”

“I see,” Tillie smiled, “Is that a dog?”

“Yes and a squirrel.”

“Is Grandpa Barney your grandfather?” Tillie asked.

“No, he’s my friend and neighbor. He’s sick.”

“Oh, sweetie, I’m sorry to hear that,” Tillie said.

“He won’t get better,” Annelise said in a tiny voice.

Tillie put her arm around Annelise’s shoulders to give her a hug.

“He has Alzheimer’s,” Annelise said.

“I’m sorry,” Tillie said again. “Tell me about Grandpa Barney.”

Annelise talked about her friendship with the old man who lived in the building across from her own and how they had met while Barney was sitting in the park, enjoying the sunshine. Although Barney did not speak much, he was always glad to see her. He always listened to everything she had to say with a twinkle in his eye. She told Tillie how she saved her allowance to buy Barney ice cream cones and how he liked the chocolate ones the best. She also told Tillie how her Mommy was friends with Barney’s daughter, Chloe.

“They sound like a very nice family,” Tillie said, “You are lucky to know them.”

“Yes,” Annelise nodded.

They talked about Barney for several more minutes, and they worked on finishing Annelise’s drawing together.

“I’d like to meet with you again,” Tillie said, “Maybe we could meet a few mornings each week, and we could talk about Barney some more. Would you like that?”

“Yes,” Annelise said.

“I will work out a schedule with Miss Gleason,” Tillie said.

When Annelise had gone back to her classroom, Tillie went into her office to make some notes on their session together. She gave them to Lois to type up, and she asked her to coordinate with Annelise’s teacher to set up further meetings.

Image courtesy of Pinterest

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