Thursday, January 29, 2015

A two way street

While talking to a friend yesterday, we were discussing all the space related stuff going on. During the conversation she remarked, 'I watch the news.'
That brought me up short. I consider this friend well spoken and knowledgeable. Could I have been talking down to her, treating her badly? Our conversation went on and took different directions like chit-chat does. The impression I got was that I hadn't slighted her. We were sharing each other's points of view.
Communication is a two way street and before the accident, I tried my best to listen to what the other person has to say. Now my scope of understanding is constrained by my lip reading and the stuff I pick up from the implant. In situations like that, I find myself doing most of the talking with the listener nodding their head a lot. 
That can get boring and dangerous. By that I mean I don't want to be a bore and dangerous because I believe other people have important things to say. Mine isn't the only opinion out there and I miss having thoughtful discussions. It's not that I don't have them, I just have fewer and shorter conversations with people.
The reverse of that is I get left out conversations to the point of exclusion.
I have no wish to be the center of attention. It's more enjoyable to share the spotlight.
This is what I've noticed over the past few years. Unless they are speaking directly to you, hearing people have a tendency to ignore me. It took a little while to realize that it's not intentional. Most days at my work I can go most of the morning and not talk to anyone. The record is four and a half hours. Yeah, I measured.
There is a girl who got hired at my work recently. The reason I mention her is because she often uses ASL to communicate with me. There have been days where she is the person I talk to the most. This is not idle gossip or chit-chat. My manager will say a dozen words to me over the course of the day. The new cashier works on the opposite end of the store often says more in the brief moments we interact than anyone else.
That says something.
I'm going to send this out right away. I'm getting up early for Cowboy breakfast. Hey, free food.

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