I have, at times, been accused of not listening.
Actually, the crime has been diagnosed as more like “selective hearing” than clinical deafness.
Mama Sling accused me of having selective hearing as a child.
Usually right after my little ears perked up when my favorite show came on television — and I heard it from four rooms away, through drywall, in the basement. Somehow my super sonic hearing appeared when it was something I wanted.
But, ask me to do the dishes, or clean my room, or pick up the doggy doo doo in the back yard and I couldn’t hear a thing.
“What?” I would scream from the other room. “Are you talking to me? I CANNNN’T hear you.”
I am actually gifted at tuning out the noises around me and focusing only on what I think I need to hear, or know, or do.
That’s why I can work in coffee shops — actually, that’s why I prefer to work in coffee shops — or with some sort of music in the background. In an odd way having music around helps my brain focus on what’s in my head.
But, like any super power, it has a downside, a debilitating detriment, a Kryptonite of sorts.
For me, it’s nodding.
I nod a lot. I think I understand.
While someone else is explaining something very important to me, I nod my head up and down, while my brain is really focused on it’s own version of the story, or maybe admiring their shoes, or making a list of things I need to check when I get back to my computer.
So I think I hear.
But really I am just confirming with my nod whatever story my brain is developing. The sad plot twist in this is that I inevitably get the wrong message, cross my wires, forget what I’m supposed to remember or, worse yet, make a mistake.
When Justin gave me specific directions of which way to head out of the hotel parking lot — and I then turned in my car and drove the opposite way.
As soon as I made the wrong turn he called my cell phone and said, “I just showed you exactly where to go and you went completely the opposite way.”
I eventually got turned around and pointed in the right direction and we made it to Naples by sunset. Land of palm trees and water fountains.
Just as we pulled into Rob and Debbie’s driveway I reached into my pocket and pulled out the key to the door. The key that Debbie gave me to make sure we could let ourselves in for the night before our apartment opens up tomorrow.
The key didn’t work.
It was the wrong one.
My mind raced back to before we left Martha’s Vineyard and Rob and Debbie asked me one more time, “You have the key right?”
Of course I have the key!
Turns out, I didn’t.
Luckily, their trusted friend let us in tonight and handed over a brand new key.
To which I nodded and said thank you.