Okay, Listen Here

Okay, Listen Here

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Is it your experience that people want you to give them answers that you don't have but won't listen when you do know what you're talking about?

Just yesterday I ran into someone I've known all my life. We even have first cousins in common. He knows the only thing I can draw is a cat and a pig and not very good ones. Yet he said to me, "Pantster, I've got a couple of pieces of artwork I'd like you to look at. I need some advice." Well, sure! Why not? If it's a stick pig, I'm your girl.

Though I had the same job for twenty years, I am routinely asked for help with resumes and cover letters. People call me for directions when I can barely get across my own town with a GPS. People in the grocery store who do not know me, ask which is the best brand of cat food. How am I supposed to know? The cat I can draw doesn't eat. The real ones in my house haven't told me.

Ludicrous as these requests are, there is one that stands alone, never to be touched. I was once asked to judge a wine making contest. I said, "You do know that though I am a snob about hard liquor, mayonnaise, and fish, my idea of good wine is screw top raspberry Reunite with a splash of diet Sprite?" Yet, they still wanted me.

And then there are those times when people will not listen. I'm not even talking about people ignoring an opinion. I'm talking about black and white stuff, like what time Target opens. You can ignore me and hope it opens at 6 AM but that won't make it so.

I have a clear memory of the first time people wouldn't listen to me. I was five. Don't doubt that I remember the details of this. Not everyone remembers things from an early age but I do. This is one of those things I know what I'm talking about.

It was Labor Day weekend and it was hot. My sister, who is ten years my senior, and I were in the yard when a carload of boys drove up. They threw open the doors of the car and hung their legs out, feasting on the sight of my sister in shorts. She'd probably been practicing her cheerleader routines. That I don't remember for sure but it makes sense. That was her life's work in those days. There were about five adolescent boys in the car and I can only guess they'd been shopping for school clothes and supplies, because sacks were tossed around them like packing peanuts, which had not been invented at the time.

A bag fell out of the car. I pulled on my sister's shirt but she waved me off and got on with the business of being Queen Of The Driveway. I tried to get the boy's attention but so hungry was he for the favor spilling forth from Her Majesty Asphalt's mouth, that he never heard me.

I decided if they wouldn't listen to me, they deserved what they got. After everyone disbursed—probably because Her Majesty's real boyfriend materialized from some sort of ball practice—I found the sack still in the driveway. It was a madras shirt, though I'm sure I didn't know what madras was at the time. Sometime later, my mother found it in the bottom of my closet and asked me about it. I explained what had happened in five-year-old speak. When I heard my mother ask my sister about it, Her Majesty brushed it off and denied it. I never discussed it with either of them but I have to wonder. Did they think I rode my tricycle to Humphrey's Menswear and bought it with a can Play-Doh? Or maybe that a fashion conscious space alien flew in my window and traded it to me for some of my spinal fluid?

What frustrates you more? People who won't listen or people who want answers you don't have?


  1. I hear your frustration, Pantster. I have been asked directions in the streets of Florence. In Italian. I have had people annoyed with me in Target for not being an employee and therefore able to help them regardless that I had neglected to wear a red shirt that day.

    I put it down to the librarian gene (that'd be mum's contribution) or the teacher gene (that's my dad). What I can't figure out is how they SEE it.

  2. I'm more frustrated by people who won't listen, especially when I'm saying the word "NO." My southern upbringing makes it difficult for me to just hang up on someone, but I've been known to say, "Thank you very much for your call, but no thanks, I don't want to sign up for ten years of Redneck Monthly. Good-bye." click My mother and I were just talking about this earlier. What part of "No" don't they understand? And do they think that constant interruption and repeated objections will make me change my mind? Uh... it just makes the "No" turn into "Hell no!"

    Rant over.

    P.S. My verification word is "pencter" and we all know what that sounds like. LOL!

  3. Sarah--Maybe it's that we meet the eyes of the people we meet and smile--though I do have the librarian gene.

    PM--Oh, and let's not forget the people who say, "You just don't understand," after they've been told no. I've been known to say, "Being relatively intelligent, I understand perfectly. I don't agree."

  4. When I was in college, we had a girlfriend who desperately wanted to marry her boyfriend. At 19, he had no desire to marry anybody. Because we were good girlfriends, we listened as she vented her frustration and endless analysis of why they weren't getting married, and we sympathized. After 6 months, we were even better girlfriends, and TOLD her, REPEATEDLY, "Honey, we love you, but he's 19, he doesn't want to marry, and you are way too young in all ways to be a good wife."

    After a year, we segued to, "He doesn't want to get married. Suck it up and move on."

    After 18 months, she came back to us after seeing a counselor, full of the wonder of discovery. "You guys will never guess. I just figured it out. He's only 19 (well, 20 at this point). He just wasn't ready to get married."

    I think we were the best of friends because we didn't kill her on the spot, just smiled and said, "How wonderful you finally figured that out. Somebody pass the mimosa pitcher."

  5. I had (notice the use of the word had) a friend that would be so busy thinking of what she was going to say next that she never heard a word of my part of the conversation. After a while of this I sort of phased her out. There was really no point in pursuing the friendship. She was her own best-friend. :-D

  6. Shawn--You are good. I am so bad, I would have started telling her it was great idea, she should do whatever it took to make it happen. I will only tell someone the truth so many times. Then I start telling them what they want to hear as in, "GREAT idea. You should shave your head. Think how much cooler you'll be and how much you'll save on hear products."

    Sherry--Good girl. Walk away from those who don't deserve you!

  7. LMAO, Panster! If I had just taken a drink, I'd have spewed it all over my computer!

    Trading clothes for spinal fluid... ;)

    My family doesn't think I'm funny and they complain that I laugh at all of my own jokes. Corny, isn't it? But doggone it! My jokes are funny to me anyway...

  8. Kathy, You're jokes are funny to me too. Laugh on.

  9. I hate the most when someone thinks that just because they explain something to you in different words for the fourteenth time, you are going to say OH - OK, now I agree. If I didn't agree with you the first 13 times, another explanation just won't help.

  10. Oh, Oldest Friend, I HATE that to. I also hate it when someone tries to tell me the facts I can see aren't really the facts. When they serve me a fried pickle SPEAR and try to tell me it's a Pickle O.

    Pantster-I am very intriqued with the idea that I can trade Play-Doh for clothes...do you think they would trade for shoes?

  11. OF--I am sure that is not what you mean. Let me explain to you what you do mean. Is that what you hate?

    Plotter--I'm not sure about shoes but you can exchange Play-Doh for fried pickles of different shapes.

  12. I'd rather have a Spartan with that SPEAR. ;)

  13. Kathy--Fried Spartan?