Living Retired — ‘SPOUSAL SPEAK’
Living Retired: ‘SPOUSAL SPEAK’
Jan told me about a magazine article she read that indicated three-quarters of communication between retired couples is based on listening.
Then she stared at me, “HELLO? DID YOU EVEN HEAR WHAT I SAID???”
During retirement bad habits creep in. Before you can say, “How many times do I have to tell you to please put the dirty forks in the dishwasher with the tines pointing up?” – you find yourselves arguing whether the jars in the fridge should be placed with the labels pointing out!
Here is how Jan and I communicate…
From the top of the stairs Jan will call down, “Gary, did you pick up the dry cleaning?”
“Dear, I am down in my office. Sorry I can’t hear you.”
“Gary, I asked if you picked up the dry cleaning?”
“Jan, just a second while I come to the bottom of the stairs.”
By the time I reach the bottom of the stairs Jan is back in her office. So, I holler up to her: “DEAR, DID YOU SAY SOMETHING?”
“DEAR! DID YOU SAY SOMETHING???”
No response. Frustrated, I go back to my computer and save what I was working on. I walk upstairs looking for Jan. My iPhone rings. It is down at my desk! Grrr….
In an effort to improve this method of communication, Jan now stands at the top of the stairs tossing decorator pillows from the nearby sofa down the steps. She believes this will make me take notice. In the end I just trip over them.
Here is an example yesterday…
“Jan, I am going out to do some errands. Do you need anything?”
From the den Jan responded, “Did you ask me something? You have to speak up.”
“Where are you dear?” Silence. “DEAR WHERE ARE YOU?”
“DEAR! WHERE ARE YOU???”
“Gary you don’t need to scream at me. I am right here in the den. What did you want?”
“Dear, I have been hollering so much I have laryngitis!”
With that, I began searching for a solution to make it easier for us to talk with each other. These are the options I came up with…
First, I considered getting a bell. You know, one of those little bells like Christmas carollers have. I could give the bell a shake every time I wanted to talk with Jan.
Ring. Ring. Ring. “Dear, I have your lunch ready. Come and get it.”
Jan didn’t like this idea. “The day you expect me to come running when you ring a bell is never going to happen.”
Hmmm, I concluded ringing a bell was a non-starter.
Then, I thought about some sort of a walkie-talkie system. I described what I envisaged to Jan…
Beep. “Hi dear. I am in the backyard. Can you get me a beer?”
Beep: “Gary, get your own beeping beer!”
Next, I came up with an intercom system. This way we could communicate clearly from room to room throughout our entire home.
“Hi Jan, I am out in the garage. Can you get me a beer?”
Silence. I assume Jan didn’t hear me.
Jan had her own suggestion…
“Gary, we could call each other on our iPhones.”
“Yes dear but that only works if we both have our iPhones with us; they are charged; and not on ‘Silent.’”
Meantime Jan and I are continuing with our hollering method – which does have its benefits. My iPhone records 184 steps between my office and Jan’s office. It is 368 steps from the den to the coffee maker and back to my office. It all adds up.
“Jan, because we talked so much yesterday my iPhone recorded 10,000 steps. Isn’t that great?”
“JAN, BECAUSE WE TALKED SO MUCH YESTERDAY MY IPHONE RECORDED 10,000 STEPS. ISN’T THAT GREAT?”
“JAN, BECAUSE WE TALKED SO MUCH YESTERDAY MY IPHONE RECORDED 10,000 STEPS. ISN’T THAT GREAT???”