Monday, November 16, 2015


This morning, I walked and afterward, I felt so rotten that I went to Costco because no days are as bad as Costco days.

See, I have this friend that I walk with sometimes. For every ten sentences I begin, I get to finish about three. I should count them but that would be petty, wouldn't it? When she interrupts me, I try to take a deep breath in and blow it out slowly. Some people would have me dump this friend but she has a good heart. She really does. And she's funny sometimes.

There's something else that I don't want to tell you. I am one of those people who interrupt people. I'm trying to learn what it is that I do to people. I'm trying to learn how to listen. This friend is my purgatory. She is giving me a life lesson that I so desperately need to learn, one that I've been trying to learn for twenty years. Crap. I'm not very good at learning, am I?

I remember a different friend, twenty years ago, who dumped me because I never let her talk. We'd taken our dogs to see Santa which had been a desperate failure since my pit bull mix had been terrified of both Santa and her Chihuahua. I'd gotten really low blood sugar in all the stress and she'd told me that it wasn't safe for me to even drive. I had stopped for a green light as I chattered away. When I dropped her off at her house, she told me she was done, finished. I'd thought we had a good time. I told her I could change, that I could be a better listener if I tried. She shook her head and said she didn't believe I could. I got back into my truck, drove half way down the block, stopped, and cried. My friend was really interesting. She owned a retired race horse. She talked with her husband about the plebs, the plebeians, of the world. I had become a pleb. I didn't want to be a pleb.

Since then, I've been trying to change, to see why I need so badly to talk that I don't give someone else, even someone interesting, a chance to speak. I've been trying to become a better listener. It's sort of working. I still get excited and cut people off when they're talking, but it's sort of working, I think.

I've decided to continue hanging out with my walking friend to try to figure out chronic interrupters. What is it that she needs? When I stop talking altogether, she can't keep up the conversation completely by herself. She needs more than ums and yesses and okays. See, even this is narcissistic of me, isn't it? I'm listening to someone like me to figure out me. Pathetic.

What I've begun to do though, is worse than being an interrupter or a narcissist. I've been complaining about the time I spend with my friend. I feel really crappy afterward and I've been complaining a lot. I've been acting like I'm doing her a favor, like she's this barely tolerable person. Even Mike has started to ask me how purgatory went on Monday afternoons.

I need to stop. My friend is nice. She really is. I don't agree with all of her politics, but who does? I don't always think she's interesting, but who can carry on like a stand-up comic all of the time? I also worry that I'm turning Mike into a judgmental person by acting this way, calling these walks purgatory. Mike was never like this before I got hold of him. Mike told me she was nice to begin with.

And she is.

And my walking friend can help me learn to listen. She has a need to talk and I need to figure out why. Then, maybe I can begin to figure out why I need to do the same thing. I just wish I could find a quiet mind when I walk with her. Maybe that's the crux of it, neither of us has a quiet mind, like ever. Maybe we're like two puzzle pieces that will never fit together no matter how many times we try to jam them in place.

I'll let you know if I ever figure it out.

Thank you for listening, jules

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