Me, Interrupted

There’s nothing quite like not being heard. And a great way to tell someone you’re not listening to them, or that you have no care as to what they’ve got to say, is to interrupt them while they’re speaking, and not be polite enough to say something to the effect of “I’m sorry, you were saying?”

Every parent tries to teach their kids not to interrupt, or at least they should. That’s the parents’ way of saying they don’t care what the kids have to say, but to be honest, no parent really cares what nonsense their kids have to say. The lucky thing is, it’s also a good way to teach them not to interrupt, because interrupting someone is rude.

I know a lot of people who love to talk, for whatever reason. I can only guess that they love to talk because they don’t get much of a chance to talk otherwise. Whether they have nobody to talk to, or they have tons of people in their lives who don’t care what they have to say, I don’t know. My dad is one of them, and I know that he just loves to talk, but he also has nobody to talk to.

It’s actually my dad’s life force. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been hanging out with him and he’s been talking away. And then one guy shows up he doesn’t really care for, so he stops talking, and he literally falls asleep minutes after not talking.

I’d love to have him awake and silent, but that isn’t going to happen. I can’t hear myself think with him talking so much. There have been times that I’ve wondered when he breathes. There have been times that he’s literally changed topics of discussion without stopping talking. There were no periods, there were no commas.

But the one thing he does without fail, is interrupts. When I actually get to talk, it doesn’t last long. And I do have to interrupt him in order to get to talk, and I hate doing it, but otherwise I’d have no way of speaking. I justify this by saying to myself “I’ve heard his stories a billion times, and I’ve got something new to tell him.”

It’s true. When he speaks, he tells me almost nothing new. And when I try to say “I’ve heard this before” or “You’ve told me this before” he says “Oh” and continues telling me. Seriously. It drives me fucking insane.

And when I’m talking I can see it in his face that he has something to tell me and he’s concentrating on it. I know he’s going to interrupt me, and he does. And he tells me something he just remembered he wanted to tell me, so he says, and it’s something I’ve heard before. But the main part of that that drives me nuts is, while he’s got his face distorted, thinking of what he wants to tell me, he’s not listening to me.

When I was a kid and my mom was telling me not to interrupt people, we knew this lady, our neighbor, who was a sweet old lady. I loved her dearly, and still do, may she rest in peace. When I was real little I thought she was my grandma. Truly one of the nicest people I’ve ever known, she was someone I always looked forward to seeing.

My mom and I would go to visit her once a week after we moved, and I cut her grass for her. Then we’d usually have dinner, but we always played Scrabble, and then later my mom would do her hair. Yet when I’d have something to say, usually something I’d just remembered to tell my mom from school or something, the old lady, without fail, would interrupt me like I wasn’t talking at all, and never would she acknowledge it by saying “I’m sorry, please continue.”

That’s when I’d shoot my mom a look, like, “I thought you said that shit was rude. Isn’t that what you taught me?”

I love the people I talk to, otherwise I wouldn’t talk to them. But there are quite a few who talk so much it’s hard to get a word in edgewise. And if I have to interrupt them just to say something, I always say “Please continue” or “Go ahead with what you were saying.” Not just because it’s right, but because I know what it’s like.

Yet nobody does that for me. Literally, nobody. They literally have no idea they’re interrupting you, which means they had no idea you were talking, which means they weren’t listening. How fucking rude is that shit?

I know this will get me into some shit, but I’m always getting into some shit, so why bother trying to avoid it? My wife interrupts me constantly. And I know she doesn’t do it on purpose, but at the same time, I’m sick of it. Again, I feel like what I’m saying to her isn’t important enough to her that she’ll hear me out before talking. And she never tells me to continue after interrupting me, or apologizes. I picked her up from work this morning and was telling her something and she interrupted me. I was completely silent the whole rest of the way home, as was she. At no point did I ever finish what I was telling her. I still haven’t.

In the 8 years we’ve been together, there’s a book’s worth of shit I’ve started to tell her, got interrupted, was never told to continue, and I never finished because I was pissed. And that is after all of the times I’d say “AS I WAS SAYING…” when she was done. Only then would I get an apology and be able to continue. I’m sick of saying it. I shouldn’t have to. And after all the times I’ve said it, you’d think being interrupted would’ve gotten better, but it hasn’t. That’s why I’ve stopped and just stay silent.

And I didn’t say it just because I wanted to finish telling her what I was saying. I say it mostly to say “Hey, you fucking interrupted me, at least have the decency to mention that you did it and that you want me to continue.”

What is it about people who insist on talking but never have anything to say? Why do people feel the need to always be making pointless noise? My dad has a long time buddy that I just recently got to meet, and he’s the same way. My dad and I will be having a conversation and he’ll interrupt one or both of us and say something that has nothing to do with what we’re talking about, and then all will be quiet when he’s done. Then my dad and I will continue talking like nothing happened.

Why the fuck do people do this? And the best part about it is, when I want to be quiet, when I want to not be making noise, when I just want to be left alone with my thoughts, I always hear from someone (now it’s usually my wife), “What’s wrong?” or “What you thinking about?” It’s like it’s a crime to be silent. Like because we can talk means we should, at great lengths, constantly.

Just now while reading over this to edit it she asked me if I was mad at her and that I was giving her the silent treatment. She said I haven’t said a word to her since she got in the car. See? She didn’t even know I was talking.

I said I wasn’t giving her the silent treatment I was just not talking. See? I can’t be quiet without it being an issue. Apparently I can’t even be quiet when I’m writing or editing either, and she knew I was writing because I told her. Not that she can hear me tapping away at my keyboard or anything. So apparently I’m supposed to talk while typing and reading. I can’t do that. Can anybody?

So I think I’m going to try to be silent from now on. At least as much as possible. Because I’m sick of being ignored, and I’m sick of being interrupted. If what I have to say isn’t that important to everyone else, then it’s not important enough to bother trying to say. At least I have a therapist I can talk to.

4 responses to “Me, Interrupted

  1. I live with an interrupter, too! Haha! I actually experience this much more with men. I’ve always assumed it came standard with a penis.
    There are a lot of articles about this, especially regarding work and educational environment.
    Sometimes the person interrupts because the feeling of losing what they were going to say is pressing. Sometimes it’s a power play, to achieve dominance. Sometimes, too often, it’s to interject and turn the conversation…I don’t like that.
    You better not be silent with me, Mister!

  2. Just yes. This goes on at work all the time, usually on conference calls, but in person too. Fucking rude. At home, I just say a loud “PARDON ME”. If I need to say something, I apologize before as in “I’m sorry to interrupt you” and then afterwards ask them to continue. I also get the why bother to talk. Might as well stay silent if your words are gonna be ignored anyway. In your case it sounds like you are damned if you talk and damned if you don’t. That sucks.

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