We try listening as intently as possible, but after a few minutes, our eyes glaze over, we start thinking about what we'll eat for dinner or how it would be great to have a glass of wine tonight, and don't comprehend what the other person is saying. (This is partly why we have a shared Google calendar now)
We hear noise and see their mouth moving, but nothing stays in the brain. Then, as if the brain realizes, "Oh crap, we were supposed to be doing something else." You snap back into the conversation just in time to hear, "...and that is how he saved the planet."
This American Life did a show on "The Seven Things You're Not Supposed to Talk About" according to one of the producer's mothers. Essentially, she says these are the 7 things no one really cares about, but people feel the need to talk about. It got me thinking about what those 7 things for me are and then I realized how often those things fill my life.
- The traffic you were in. Besides knowing you were late because of traffic, there is no way anyone else can sympathize with the jackass in the blue truck that almost hit you off or how after an hour you got to the front of the traffic and there didn't seem to be a reason for it. Unless I was in the passenger seat, I'm not going to be able to feel the rage you did.
- Vacation pictures. I always feel like a jerk for this one, but it sort of goes along with the thing above. As much as I want to go to Paris, I want to see maybe your top 10 pictures or that funny thing you saw, but I mostly want to know about the food, drinks, and people. Tell me about the experience. I have no feeling one way or the other at your picture holding your loved one under the Eiffel Tower.
Side note: For some reason though, I used to love watching slide shows of vacations my grandparents took with all the kids.
- Remembering that TV show we just watched together. Yes, that one joke John Stewart told was hilarious, but let's give it like a few hours of cooling off time before we try to bring it back into the conversation.
- Diets. I want to hear about this once, only because I'm interested in silently judging your progress over the next few months. However, I don't need you to bring up how the red meat or pasta I occasionally eat is the reason why I sort of feel tired today. The reason I sort of feel tired, is because of...
- Sleep. You slept terrible, I slept terrible. Let's leave it at that. Don't need to hear about every toss and turn you had last night. I'll try not to waste your time with the same.
- Dreams. This one does have caveats. Like, if its actually a really interesting or crazy dream, specifically if it involves me, let's hear it. If you had a dream that all of your teeth fell out... well, I just don't know what to do with that. It's not that it's not interesting, I just literally have no response to that.
Side note 2: Last night I had a dream that my dad brought me and my brothers back to our old neighborhood in North County to rob houses because, "No one will suspect us." And then later on, my college buddy Sean and I opened a baseball card shop. Unless you are my dad, my brothers, or Sean, you don't really care do you?
- Money. I'm severely guilty of talking about money too often. I'm aware and am trying to stop. But if you have too little money, I can't help you out. If you have too much money, that's great, but I can't just go to the mall and drop a few hundred on a sweater.
I'm guilty of talking about all of these things at one point or another. And I mentioned, there are always really interesting exceptions to these rules.
And... just because you know this about me now, don't think it means I hate you if you start talking about it. Just know that there's a chance I might only remember about 40% of the conversation.