So. Now you know.

This was me last night at supper.
Or rather.

This was me SANE last night at supper (politely asking for a pat of the yellow stuff, since I had been so kind to make the meal): “Could someone pass the butter, please?”

Din of voices. Outright, blatant ignoring of the Mother Lode. General mayhem.
And then.

This was me INSANE last night at supper (I apologize to the good folks in Tuktoyaktok who broke an eardrum): “FAMILY, PASS.ME. THE. BUTTER. P.L.E.A.S.E.”
Our ears are still reverberating.

And to add injury to insult. This was me tonight. At witching hour, ‘er bedtime.

(Speaking voice): “M.A., time to get your books and go upstairs.”

…M.A. delaying.

(strained speaking voice, a little bit louder this time) “M.A., c’mon. I said it’s time to go upstairs and do your homework.

…M.A. running in the opposite direction.

(@85 dB): “M.A. I.SAID.GET.YOUR.BOOKS. N.O.W.”

M.A. scooting up the stairs. As if her life depended on it. Which of course. It did.

So why is it, my dear people of THE WORLD that we as parents must project ourselves SO, in order to be heard?

Why must a raspy, poorly expressed mother take out a family of six, wiping them flat on their backs because she broke the sound barrier, just so she can get a word in?

I am ready to become mute for the cause. I have actually found myself daydreaming of laryngitis, simply because I wouldn’t have to fight it anymore. I could just blatantly go on living my life- because not only would I know they were ignoring me, I would also have verification that they truly couldn’t hear me. Which is more than I can say for right now.

I am not sure which has ruined me more- using my voice everyday to direct the Gard fleet from Command Central or reading Robert Munsch books a la Bob Munsch style- complete with sound effects. All I know for sure is this: I am not able to gain attention by way of my voice as I once might have been able. And I think it just might all be downhill from here.

I found myself last fall in an ENT office in Summerside (as one of my students calls him- visiting “Dr. Compost” – which is really to say “Dr. Campos”). And there I was with a metal contraption the length of a fishing pole strung down my throat (try to look graceful in that position. I dare you). And at the end of that ordeal, the doctor looked at me and said simply. “You need to see a Speech Pathologist. You don’t know how to use your voice correctly.”

While that is obviously true due to the fact that one year later I am still finding myself talking to the wall (which is of course, better than talking to the hand, but I digress…), the prospects of ending up inside an office where I would have to practice speaking for a woman/man at the ripe old age of 39 was just too humiliating a venture for this old duck. Not to mention, I could think of a million and one other ways to spend my husband’s hard-earned dollars.

I smiled at the specialist and told him I would see him in a couple of months, and then I proceeded to spend that entire time ignoring every good bit of advice that he gave me. And then some.
So. I guess it is my own fault. Which is why I am taking to hand signals these days which are far more effective anyway. And I say all this to say THIS:
Some of you wonder why I write. It’s the only way I can get a word in edgewise around here.
‘Nuff said.

Not enJOYing this!

I am sitting in a meeting, and the presenters have begun to speak.  The topic, one chosen for its pertinence to all in attendance, should be enough to captivate the audience and compel the listening group to lend an ear attentively.  We are being financially paid, by the way, to pay attention.  One quick glance around the room, and the truth would be told.  Sadly, the talk these specialists will give today is not enough to keep even the rule-sticklers from hiding a yawn.  It is not really the fault of the experts giving the presentation.  They have a lot to contend with, what with all the gadgets that are being flashed about: SMART phones, iphones, ipads, ipod touch’s, Blackberrys, and lest we forget, the good old-fashioned pencil for doodling.

Not to mention the conversations going on between others as off-shoots from all of the above.  Is it any wonder we are unable to focus our attention on a spoken lecture, one that it is devoid of technological trappings and lacking the excitement factor of a good old-fashioned conversation?  And furthermore, even if our very careers depended on listening to a forty-five minute spiel, I wonder how many of us would be dead before the half-way point was reached?

I am shocked, embarrassed and dare I say annoyed at the lack of respect we show and deference we pay to those given the task of speaking in public. Paid or voluntary, it matters not.  Neither does the size or importance of the venue seem to make a difference either.  Whether the smallest of meetings to the largest of gatherings, people don’t know how to stop what they are doing and listen.  We don’t know how to keep quiet longer than the time it takes to say (quite honestly), “Would you just shut up!”

I have a major beef with any and all who have the nerve to make a racket while another human being is speaking.  As a teacher, I work very hard with my students on creating habits that help us to not interrupt when anyone has been given the floor for talking.  I want them to learn that there is value in listening and in being heard.  We don’t seem to have a problem with speaking, it’s the listening part of the equation that is getting the bum rap.  Furthermore, if we as adults cannot show one another the same respect and deference that we expect the younger generation to show, what hope is there for them?

The art of listening well, as a time- honored craft, is becoming obsolete.

I was talking to someone today about a church service she had attended Sunday morning.  She spoke of a leader in the service who got up on stage and did a fair chunk of talking/lecturing to the congregation before sitting down to “listen” to the sermon.  I use the word “listen” very loosely.  This woman ended up sitting directly behind my friend, which would have been fine if not for the following.

Almost as soon as she sat in her chair, she began to loudly whisper to her husband and proceeded to talk the entire sermon.  She spoke in such a loud whisper that my friend was able to catch bits and pieces of the conversation only to discover that she was actually poking fun at some of the seniors in the church.  My friend was beyond annoyed by the distraction this woman posed to her ability to hear the minister delivering his sermon, but matters were made worse when the woman got up at the end of the service and continued to lead the prelude music to end the service.  From the front of the church.  And she did so as if she had done nothing wrong from the back of the church!

Are you kidding me?  Are people really that self-consumed and full of importance that they cannot give the deference to another human being that they would also expect for themselves?  I may be old-fashioned in that I tend not to carry cell phones around with me everywhere I go.  I actually own and carry a SMART phone in my purse, I have bought two of my children an ipod touch and my husband and I frequently use our laptop away from home.  But, when another human being is speaking to me, particularly when it is a public venue (we can of course make allowances for when we are at home), I still feel it is important to give that person my utmost of attention and respect.  And I try to make a practice of not allowing technology to interfere with my listening.

If that makes me crazy, commit me now!  But at the very least, listen attentively to me rant as I make my way there.  If it’s not too much to ask!