Hear Here

The most peaceful days of my life were the days when I was almost half a world away from my biological family. My husband wishes I wouldn’t feel this way or, since I do feel this way, he wishes I wouldn’t proclaim it for all the world to hear. I’m sure you know how I feel about that. They are not bad people. There are a lot of them. Over the years, their numbers have increased to include spouses, significant others, former spouses, children, grandchildren, kits, cats, sacks and wives until I find myself wishing they’d all take a hike and go to St. Ives.

They love to talk for the joy of hearing themselves speak. Being the eldest, I’ve spent more time in linguistic practice, which has resulted in a lack of fascination for speech. They call to talk about nothing. I have received phone calls when they have been brushing their teeth, expecting me to hang on while they swish and spit. No topic is too inconsequential for my ears. Imposition of a strictly enforced radio silence has become necessary. I don’t want to hear another peep.

My husband happened to be in my office at the end of the day last week (the end of the day last week– some days seem like weeks) to hear my dialogue in a 40 minute business call that presented untold personal revelations. He hadn’t realized the nature of the calls that fill my day. I am not a clinician. I am an administrator, working remotely, in a service industry that could never be misconstrued as a place to deposit personal sorrows. Last night, I received another business call filled with intimate detail. He expressed surprise at the things people confide in me. I don’t know why they do it, it’s happened all of my life. In the past month, I’ve been entrusted with pain and grief that forces it’s host to seek a receptive outlet. My ears have become the repository for disclosures from an adult child whose mother became suddenly ill and made a hasty exit, an elderly couple acknowledging terminal illness and anticipatory grief, and a parent trying to navigate through a world without the adult child who was supposed to live a lot longer.

I understand that people speak to be heard. Everyone needs confirmation. I have a duty to honor a confidence by hearing it, every word and nuance. I suppose that my siblings feel justified in their need to fill my finite seconds in the world with phone calls comprised of yawns, dental tasks, and even television viewing. I would be conceited to believe they miss me, when what they miss is confirmation of their existence. “Hello, hello, hello…am I still here? If nobody hears me, am I still here?”

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About elroyjones

Married, no children, responsibly self-directed, living happily.
This entry was posted in Human Condition and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Hear Here

  1. Man, people are so needy… dumping all their random thoughts on you… expecting you to put your life on hold while they babble and dribble at you about any stupid thing… now go read my blog… HA!!!!!

  2. I’ve been thinking for ages now that there must be something unattainable missing from my life, because I’ve looked everywhere, and then I thought OH MY GOD! WHAT’S ELROY BEEN UP TO? and I see you have one of those follow buttons…I like your style.

  3. You always write about our lives – yes, ours – with such concise, rich language. Your conclusion sounds absolutely right: confirmation of their existence. Now, you have me wondering if the difference is I get my confirmation here at my computer, through blogging and such. Those who need to talk to me are not computer people … and now I’m not sure if I should put a frowny or a happy face after that …

    • elroyjones says:

      We all get confirmation from somewhere. As much as I’d like to believe I’m self-sufficient I’m know I couldn’t live a totally solitary existence. You can’t share anything if there is nobody else there. In my case, there is a fine line between sharing thoughts and littering them. As always, very happy to hear from you Teresa!

  4. maesprose says:

    I know how you feel! I don’t know how I lost control of everything…

    • elroyjones says:

      In my tiny corner of the universe, my siblings are like little ducklings. When Mum died they were clucking and quacking aimlessly until I arrived at her house then they’d swarm in so I could get them in a row. It isn’t that I don’t care about them, Mae. It’s just too much- whatever has happened with the appliances or the car or the politics of their jobs is nothing I can manage for them because I have that same pile of minutia in my own life. I do not need more. They refuse to email and they do not understand that self-employment is most definitely NOT leisurely.
      Control is an illusion; life is random chaos. I am the biggest territorial control freak ever but control really is a feeble attempt to make sense of what I do not understand and what I fear. I’m always happy to hear from you.

  5. I can almost hear old Luke. Good old Cool Hand Luke.

  6. I know I’m not family or anything, but you’ve always seemed so understanding. I said to myself — whoops, hold on, just need to clip that last toenail — where was I? Oh yeh, I said to myself, you shouldn’t bother Elroy with your petty little problems, but, on the other hand, you’ve got to bother somebody, so if you’ve got a few minutes, here goes . . .

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