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It’s Not Really All the Talking… It’s the Questions.

September 5, 2013

It’s like I’ve said before. Guys don’t have much bandwidth. Not only do we have a limited number of words we can say on a given day, but there’s also a limited number of words we can hear in a given 24-hour period. I recently figured out there’s also a limit to how many questions we can answer…

Questions are a natural part of any conversation (and maybe it’s me), but it seems like women want to understand the intricate details of a story or situation. And for this to happen, there are a LOT of clarifying questions that get asked in an effort to bring these details to life.

This recently became clear to me in the middle of the night. You see, because I ride my bike early in the morning, I leave the door to our garage cracked so the door chime doesn’t wake everyone up when I leave (our alarm makes that loud dinging sound that echoes throughout the house when a door opens). I think this feature on the alarm is to let you know if one of the kids leave the house or someone comes home. In my wife’s mind, the purpose of the door chime is to let you know someone is breaking into our home to steal our kids. Sometimes, if there’s a storm or a lot of wind, it will move the door to the garage enough to make the chime go off. Well, this happened the other night at 3:00 am. The first ding woke me up, the second ding irritated me, and the third got me out of bed to check it out.

After fixing the problem and finally getting back to bed, the questions start… “What was the problem? Why did it take so long? I was worried about you. What exactly happened? Is it fixed? Did it wake up the girls? What about the dog? It’s hot in here. Do you think the air is too cold for the girls in their rooms? Should I go make it warmer for them? I think I did something to the alarm. Why won’t the light on the alarm keypad turn off? I was about to come down and check on you. Tell me again why it took so long….”

It’s like I’m being deposed. Notice how some of the same questions get asked in different ways. It’s like she thinks I won’t answer the question unless she asks it the right way. Or, maybe, she wants to get a jump on her 20,000 words for the day. Either way, do you really want to burn through that many questions when I’m not awake to answer any of them? Doesn’t she know it works against her question quota for the day? Why not wait and ask me questions when I’m awake and I can actually answer some? I think it’s because she (and most women) just need to ask questions, say words and talk. It’s like they’re anxious they won’t get all of those words out tomorrow and need to start talking tonight.

After almost 20 years of being married she knows that if she strikes up a conversation in the middle of the night it will wake me up and I’ll be irritated that I can’t go back to sleep, but she asks anyway. Just like a junkie can’t help but pick up that crack pipe, the conversation starts. I remind her in the most patient way I know how that I will give her all of the details in the morning. And next time, if she hears a commotion or scuffle, please make sure that I have totally bled out and I’ve completely stopped breathing before you come downstairs to check on me because I really can’t handle all of the questions.

© Johnny Hea – 2013 All Rights Reserved


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One Comment
  1. I admire you.

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