Sometimes I walk around with my iPod on just to avoid talking and listening. Mostly it’s the listening. I get SO tired of listening. My ears literally hurt and I run to the mirror to make sure they aren’t bright red and oozing off my face. I put on some talk show and don’t even really hear it. I just use it to drown out any conversation going on around me and to thwart any attempts to engage me in a discussion of any kind, on any topic, at any moment. I use my iPod like a “do not disturb” sign hanging out both of my ears. I’m an introvert trapped in an extroverts world. And by world I mean my house. Or any other place my family happens to be.
Jim and our daughter are two peas from the same pod. They will talk to anyone and by anyone I mean complete strangers. People they met five seconds ago at the grocery store will be important enough to require a ten minute dialogue and shopping intermission. If Jim gets a hold of you he will find out the inner most secrets of your life. He will know where you were born, your favorite color, and what your favorite cocktail is. He’ll know what your father did for a living and your mothers worst fears. He’ll know about the mole you had to have removed and how your first husband cheated on you with the woman he met at the roller rink. He’ll even know your second cousin’s middle name. The amount of information he can extract in such a short amount of time is amazing. He’s a talker and he loves to talk, especially about himself. Or the news, or any topic he can get you to listen to him expound upon. He’s the social butterfly and I am the hide me under a leaf caterpillar. I duck down the next aisle when I think I see someone I know. I let my calls go to voicemail. I hide behind the couch when the church people come to our door. Our daughter has inherited Jim’s gift for gab and will talk to any Grandma, Cowboy, or baby that comes her way. She demands attention from store clerks, cashiers, and cranky old Grandpa’s that seem to hate everyone around them but her. She adores 20 something good looking young men. Of course she does. She already knows how to push my buttons. On our last outing she screamed, “Guys! Guys! Guys!” at these two young men until one of them finally turned to her and said, “What’s up?” Of course it took everything I had not to snap back, “She’s too young for you buck-o so stop with the googly eyes.” One time at the Dollar Tree she walked right up to a seven year old boy and tried to hold his hand. The little boy was appalled because it was clear by the look on his face that he was positive he had just contracted a rare and fatal form of cooties. It takes hours to do the shopping especially when they are both with me. It can be a very long day.
It’s no better at home. All I want to do is sneak into the bathroom or hide out in a closet and read my vampire book or collect my thoughts or plan my revenge, but they always discover me. Jim wants to read every story in the news magazine to me so I don’t miss anything by reading it myself. Our daughter wants me to hold her sippy cup while she shows me that she can open the bathroom drawers and remove every item I have hidden deep in the dark recesses of the drawer. It wouldn’t be so bad if she did this silently, but she is usually shouting, “Mess! Mess! Mess! Fast! Fast! Fast!” while she does it. I’ve let her do unthinkable things to my most cherished objects just to get a moment of peace and quiet.
So, my iPod saves my sanity some days. I just pop it on and the sounds drown out the world around me. I saw a college-aged young women at the grocery store with hers on the other day and thought she was probably the smartest woman in the state of New Mexico. I wonder what people would think if they happened upon a mom rocking out to Tom Petty next to her husband chatting up some cute sales girl and her daughter giving high fives to all the men walking by. They’d probably think she was crazy and they’d probably be right.