Sunday, December 7, 2008

Silence

So I run into this friend of ours. He's a master of the meaningful question, the non-small talk. And he's all I hope your holiday season isn't too hectic.

And I'm all well we keep it pretty okay, I think. And I think I should have stopped there but his piercing eyes just kind of kept looking at me. Which in retrospect was I think a meaningful moment of silent affirmation of my attempt at Christmas peace before he moved on with his day, but I tend to go a little nuts when people look at me intensely and quietly so did I shut up there? Nooooooo.

I'm all, for one thing, I refuse to Christmas shop. And he's all well I bet that helps! And I'm all, yes my family doesn't really do gifts, too many people, and Jeff's family does but I refuse to take over that job for him. I just couldn't do it. I can't compete with those women. They are really great gift givers and they give things that involve photos of cats. Which I secretly love but cannot, simply cannot compare to. So I told Jeff that he had to do all the shopping for his family. It was a little bit of a scandal at first, because they all assumed I would just take over the Jeff family gift giving. I tried when we were first married but I just gave really stupid things, or to the wrong people, so now I just stay out of it.

And he's backing away, all, scandal...

And I continue, all unable to stop myself, it kind of works out because if he gets presents they think he's all wonderful and give him lots of extra credit for being a SENSITIVE MAN, and if he doesn't give anything they don't care because he's so busy and anyway he's a MAN so I think it's a win-win for everyone but then I usually get some nice hand cream out of it because my mother-in-law gives really nice hand cream for gifts.

And he's all backing away from me, possibly bored stiff, offended, or late to whatever I had kept him from with my incessant blathering about my thinly veiled lazy sexism.

And he's all, I have a thing I have to be at...bye...

And you know I do this ALL the time. If I ever possessed any internationally interesting information--military intelligence and the like--all they would have to do was just sit there and look at me meaningfully, and I would chatter away to fill up the silence. That terrorist you're after? He's behind that curtain over there. The code? Oh! Yes! I have that! Do you want it? It's 8795! Anything else?

14 comments:

phd in yogurtry said...

Hooray for you -- refusing to take up the mantle of traditional female social obligation. I could rant along similar vein (vane? vain?)on birthday cards and general social invitations.

Unlike you, it took me several years to pass the mantle back to my husband. It's his family, let him negotiate the whens and wheres of gatherings and gift giving. When family members called, I would defer "Let me check with SAM and I'll have him call you." It hasn't led to peace and goodwill for all, but at least I'm further out of target range.

racheld said...

Yep. Silence is NOT golden---it's proverbially pregnant, and no good pause goes unrewarded.

rachel, Mistress of the Blurt

Rebekah said...

Snort. I loved this. That's all. Just...bwuhhhhhuhhuh.

Rima said...

I do that too! And regret it every time.

This is the first year that my husband is in charge of his family's gifts. We'll see how it goes . . .

sallyacious said...

It's that very impulse that I rely on in class discussions. I ask a question, and then I just sit there and smile and wait. Because I don't mind sitting in expectant silence, but it makes most people crazy.

My husband has always been in charge of stuff relating to his family. It never even occurred to me that it should be my job. How would I possibly know what to give whom?

Noelle said...

Sometimes I don't know if I really have anything to share, or if I just like hearing the thoughts that run around my head all day come out of my mouth. Maybe I like the sound of my own voice? But I totally go on and on and often about things I really shouldn't. But that pregnant pause. That deep stare. I totally buckle and blabber as well in it.

Love this post. The holidays bring up so many good discussion points like this!

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Isn't it crazy the slack people cut men? I love it when you go out of town with the kids and someone invites your husband for dinner, but when he goes out of town and leaves you with the kids you're on your own. Hellza?!

JCK said...

I love that your husband does his family's gifts. And I love it that you are a chatterbox. All lovely qualities.

The Finely Tuned Woman said...

You're so funny and so hard on yourself. We're all a bit like that, you know. We either say to much or not enough. It's hard to get it just right. I often open my mouth and put my foot right in it. Don't worry about it.

Big hug,
Irene

racheld said...

I'll see your photos of cats and raise you STATUES of cats. With EYELASHES.

Tricia said...

This is funny, in the 'I feel your pain' kind of way. I do that TMI talking thing too, or I start interviewing people, which is completely obnoxious.

Ahhh. Every time I try to get my husband to ante up on holiday tasks, it is disastrous.

see you there! said...

Hee! I'm known in some circles as the master of the pause, the look, the wait. People tell you all kinds of things. Sorry, I'd probably drive you nuts but I'd know all your secrets.

Darla

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