Sunday, May 06, 2007

Working Mom: Volume 1 Issue 5: Lost in Babylon

I'm a talker. Anyone scourged by my comments on his or her blog can attest to that. You get me going on tortoise nesting behavior or the various viscosities of rodent urine, I can go on all day.

Problem is, not many people are all that interested in sizes and textures of reptilian scat. Can't say that I blame them, there's a limited audience for such topics. I couldn't yawn through a detailed expose on the turnover on The View. It's all about perspective, I guess.

Thing is, my family is a bunch of talkers, too. Mr. Feat can go on for-EVER about how he is modifying his telrad whatnot for his latest modification on one of his telescopes, or his latest theory on how Karl Rove is really the cause for mass extinction in the late Devonian. Eldest Child (EC), recently turned seven, is the master of non sequiters, jumping in on conversational pauses to talk about anything from meiosis to schoolyard society. Middle Child (MC), recently registered for kindergarten, will interrupt any of the previously mentioned fascinating conversations, to ask a number of unanswerable questions always prefaced with "What about if...." air were pudding, we all had three heads, I was as tall as the planet, fire was cold, etc. Youngest Child (YC), very Two, will take advantage of any remaining opportunity for interjection with, "Iwann ah pah. Peeazz? Peeeazzz? Peeazzz? Peeazzz?" or "Mom? Mom? Mom? Mom? Mom? MOM! MOM! MOM! MOM!"

I've become a mute. I can get in a few "Ummhmmmmm"s around Mr. Feat's dialogue, with a few questions about EC's day and need for homework, a bit of expostulation on the latest oddity MC may have dreamed up, and (more than I'm willing to admit) "WHAT?!" to YC. Aside from that, I have no chance to babble on about my own interests, day, pressing need for the bathroom, or latest obsession to get some family room furniture (I've been out of college and married 18 years now, it's about time we get a sofa for cryin' out loud. Aside from having somewhere comfortable to sit for once, it would hide the stains on the carpet very nicely).

It's kinda a lonely life. Oh, I love to hear my kids babble on, and even Mr. Feat for the most part. Dreaming up endless alternate universes with MC is a hoot, really, although tiring after awhile. Hearing the baby talk in that tiny high voice is enough to make me weak in the knees from cuteness. I am amazed at what EC thinks of and discovers as she matures both intellectually and socially (we got into discussions about Meangirl cliques and communism today).

I listen a lot. I ask a lot of questions. I help guide conversations about hurt feelings, sibling fights, and inevitable proletariat inequalities. I've become so accustomed to tuning into others' dialog, I have become somewhat at a loss when someone shows an interest in me. I'm usually of the opinion it's just a nicety, like the grocery checker asking, "Is there anything else I can help you with" while silently imploring, "Please, God, say no. Please say no. Please say no. Peeazz peeeazzz peeeeazzzz!" It's easier to just say, "Oh, I'm fine, thanks" and let someone else guide the conversation instead of trying to discern sincerity.

Unless, of course, mycoplasms are mentioned, then I'm all over it. It's a lot easier to talk about enzyme-linked immunosorbant assay tests and Amersham mouse monoclonal antibody isotyping vs. polymerase chain reaction than how overwhelmed I am with work, wifedom and motherhood.

I now understand why there are Star Trek conventions. Folks who have no life find others who have no life and they can talk about someone else's fantastical life instead of their own. It's not like their lives are depressing lumps of misogyny and squalor, it's just that Spock's life is so much cooler, and it nicely steers the conversation away from how Mom's basement is starting to smell after living in it for the past eight years, so beam me up NOW, Scotty.

Speaking of life, it calls.


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