Do you ever experience something and then you stop and think “Well, that’s 20 minutes of my life I’ll never get back”? This happens to me several times every week. Not in the grocery store line or when I make a recipe and it flops, because that is time that I consider well spent. It happens when I am on the phone. I should clarify, it isn’t every time when I’m on the phone, only when certain people call. No, that’s wrong too, only when one certain person calls. To protect this person’s identity I will call her “Pat”.
Pat calls several times per week and since I don’t have Call Display on my phone, I unknowingly answer it EVERY time! It’s a pet peeve of mine when no one answers the phone and it just rings and rings, so I will run from one end of the house to the other to answer it. Unlike my husband who can be sitting right next to the phone and it doesn’t bother him in the least not to answer it. What if it’s something important! Needless to say, I always end up talking with Pat. I’ll rephrase that – I always end up listening to Pat ramble on and on and on about nothing in particular. Pat likes to talk and doesn’t really care who she is talking to.
Pat talks about things that happened 20 years ago like they happened this morning. Pat talks and talks and I don’t think she ever really expects you to answer her, or even acknowledge that you’re on the other end of the line. I make a few non-committal uh-huh’s and oh yeah’s throughout the conversation ( I use the word conversation VERY loosely), without ever really hearing what Pat is saying. Some days, I hope it’s telemarketers on the phone just so I can hang up on them. Who in their right mind hopes for telemarketers?
I’ve learned that the best way to get Pat off the phone is to let her get whatever she needs to say out. Some days it takes 15 minutes, some days it’s more like 30. It seems when I’m really busy it’s closer to the 30 minute mark. And each time when I finally convince Pat that I have to hang up, I take a deep breath and I think “”Well, that’s ____ minutes that I’ll never get back!”
I assume that I deal with Pat’s ramblings because I know she is lonely. She is looking for someone to acknowledge her existence in this mixed up, crazy world. She is looking for someone to hear what she is saying even if it doesn’t make any sense or have any relevance to me in particular. She just needs to talk and be heard. Isn’t that all that any of us are looking for in this life. Just to know we were heard and that our existence mattered. Even if it’s just for 31 minutes and 28 seconds.
So if you have a Pat in your life, listen to her. Listen for just a little while, then have a cookie. You’ll both feel better.
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