Thursday, November 19, 2009

talking points

Around our house, the beaten-down-by-life parents do not stay awake long after the lively, sleep-avoiding children have finally succumbed to slumber. Typically there's a brief period of time where I play a bit of Warcraft on a laptop in bed while the Sober Husband reads a piece of serious non-fiction.

Lately, however, he's been feeling talkative at night. I am not talkative after 10 p.m., having talked plenty to Iris and Lola since picking them up at school. A few nights ago he sank into a state of angst where he was unveiling an epic amount of existential despair related to a work matter, at the very time I was trying to slip into peaceful sleep after having taken a sleeping pill. However, that was the same day I had told him, after an unpleasant morning conversation about money, that I felt the only conversations we ever had were about my spending and our budget. Therefore the Sober Husband went on the offensive over my reluctance to talk at length over his angst, saying that he was bringing up a fresh topic of conversation aside from money and that I should be grateful. (Lest I be cast forever as a Callous, Uncaring Spouse, I should note that this very same work topic had been discussed to death on a nigh-daily basis for about six weeks).

In the morning, fresh from some sleep, I brought up his work issues and talked and talked at them. However, that night, after the children were in bed, once again he was talking, and this time it was about evolutionary biology. Always a serious man, the Sober Husband listens to podcasts of Yale lectures on his way to work, and lately it's a series of evolutionary biology classes. He made me avert my eyes from Warcraft and look at some diagram of the Tree of Life. He began to realize just how ignorant I was (in my defense, I said, "You can't imagine the extent of what is not taught at crappy public schools in rural areas"). He droned on and on about the bacteria found in human excrement ("Stop being scatological," I said) and about how sexual selection is largely mythologized, until, feeling pummeled by heavy scientific words the meaning of which I couldn't understand, until I broke and said, "STOP! It is too late! This is too heavy!"

A resentful silence, and then he said, "I was just talking. This is what's on my mind" and then "You have too many rules for talking."

"You're not talking, you're LECTURING."

We both went to sleep in the ensuing resentful silence, his side of the bed the one devoted to lofty scientific thought, mine the side of the bed with a Janet Evanovich and a C.J. Box novel underneath it.

In the morning I accosted him. "Look at me! I'm rested! I'm caffeinated! Now is when you can talk to me about heavy things!" I had thought about his accusation of "too many rules for talking", and I felt that there was in fact only one rule, which I imparted: "After I go to bed, I'm tired. I want things light. Only light conversation! Like a cute thing Iris did or a cute thing [Employee] did. In the morning, that is when you can get heavy." I drove him to work, and we brainstormed a managerial problem he has all the way to his office.


hughman said...

it sounds like he's a very interactive heavy talker which (as much as i like to talk) would drive me crazy at inopportune times. so no smiling and nodding? no thoughtfully muttered "yes dear"s?

Silliyak said...

Sounds like he should start a blog!

Missy said...

Mr. Texzmissy and I had to finally make a rule, no talking about serious subjects after 9 p.m. He would talk, and then feel better, and go to sleep. I would lie awake agonizing all night. As well, Mr. Texzmissy is an auditory learner, so he has to literally hear things repetitiously over and over, to process them. (My perspective, as I'm visual.)

You're a lark, he's an owl. You have to find a midpoint where he can talk and you can listen, or vice versa.

The work stuff is important because when you are actually working through it by talking about it endlessly. It stinks for the other partner, though.

Jenny C. said...

I think you and Iris oughta work on a graph for him... x-axis can be time of day, y-axis can be deepness of conversations (deepness, not depth, mind you). That ought to reduce the complicated rules to a yale-podcast worthy presentation. You can even call out certain times of day with examples of appropriate topics.

GodsKid said...

"Lecturing" is apparently a common talk style for men. "Men are from Mars; Women from Venus" and several books like that mention it. I haven't yet reconciled how to cope with a lecturer, but I guess it's common!

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