Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Chatty Cathy, OR, In Need of an Exit Strategy

My husband is not much of a talker. He is introverted and loathes small talk. When we dated long distance for years, talking on the phone was not much fun. Lots of listening to each other breathe, and NOT in a good way.

So why have I dubbed him "Chatty Cathy?"

Because dude doesn't know how to end a conversation.

Am I the last one talking at church on Sunday? No. Am I the one who goes to the neighbor's house to call the kids home for dinner and stands in the yard talking for 20 minutes? At dinner time? Nope.

And don't even make me tell you about the Open House Horror of 2003. Oh, you insist?


We were looking for a new home, and house hunting was difficult due to the kids' ages (1.5, 4) and my husband's crazy work schedule. This was pre-Internet house hunting. Can you imagine?

One Sunday the stars aligned for us to go to 2 open houses in THE neighborhood in our town.

You know the one with the elementary school in walking distance, the pool right down the street where kids of a certain age can go unattended, and the book clubs and mimosas and probably even dark chocolate available for mom at any time? The one where houses come on the market rarely and never last long? That one. Call it Mayberry, or Stepford, or whatever you wish, but call it a nice place to live.

We headed to the open houses and Tom happened to see a family we had met a few times standing in their front yard. Chat. Chat. Chat. Tick tock. Tick tock. Tick tock. No amount of bitchy body language on my part was going to get him to quit chatting.

Before we (HE) knew it, the open houses were no longer open, and the houses were gone. Poof! Not that they actually disappeared, but my chance of having a ready made latte-sipping, power walking, carpool-less, bunco playing existence was up in smoke.

Not only did we never get a house in that neighborhood, we saw the chat-worthy couple exactly ONE more time in our lives.

I truly love my neighborhood and my neighbors, but sometimes I still pine for the amenities of the one that got away.

I'm different than Tom. I have zero qualms about saying a quick, "It's great to see you! Catch you later," when I'm trying to get somewhere. Part of this ability to disconnect quickly comes from NOT BEING CLUELESS, and another part from just being a mom.

I mean, what mom hasn't been chatting with a sister or friend on the phone and yelled into the receiver, "Uh-Oh! Gotta Go!" Click. Perhaps someone fell off of a chair. Could have been a massive booger or poop incident. Who knows? No explanation needed. Maybe there will be a call back to let the friend know all is well, but that is certainly not necessary or expected.

And hasty exits from public places? Are my thing. I can't be the only mom who has had to shove kids in a car the second the blood sugar (hers or theirs) starts plummeting. The hasty exit has saved many a play date from turning ugly. It's the lingering that leads to disaster.

I like that my husband is likable. I am glad people want to talk to him. I just wish he'd figure out when it's time to cut and run.

K? Gotta Go! Bye!


Shay said...

I think you and I share a husband !

Christy said...

Fellow expert at hasty exits here! LOVED this post. Hysterical!

So glad you're clearly feeling better and posting more often. Missed you!

Kate Coveny Hood said...

Ha! I am probably *a little bit* like Tom in this - not necessarily looking to talk to people FOREVER - but getting caught up in trying to be friendly and losing track of time. Or more specifically - like you said - having no idea how to gracefully exit a conversation. I can only do it when I'm desperate and looking for escape (or of course when the stars are aligned and I can see that it's time to leave the party - I do have my moments).

Chris is the people person in my family. He knows how to leave a conversation. Unfortunately - he likes them SO MUCH! Sales guy...

vawriter said...

Is he Southern? I mean, he could have picked it up in childhood, this extended leavetaking thing. ALL true Southerners know one must initiate departure one full half hour before it is necessary to go, what with the "Just one more piece of pie?" and "I'll walk you to your car." The word verification is "maters", which proves it...Southern for tomatoes!

for a different kind of girl said...

I'm one of those who thinks we're married to the same type of husband, too. I can walk from room to room trying to find mine - who honestly has but a few close friends - out talking forever to the neighbor. He's chatting them up, loaning them tools, giving them free reign of our garage, giving them food. Sometimes I ask him how his new marriage is going, because I think he talks to them more than me and he's finally caught on after years of me asking him to talk more to me that THAT is what he has to do!

K A B L O O E Y said...

Funny, vawriter asks if he's southern, because my first question is if you've ever heard of a Jewish goodbye? They take ten minutes for every person present. So 9 people = a ninety-minute goodby process. It's baaaaad.

anymommy said...

I am you. I am the queen of hasty exits. I'm certain I have missed out on many friendships because of my inability to linger at ANYTHING.

Heidi said...

Love, love this post! It made me laugh and I needed a laugh.

I loathe goodbyes, all kinds, so I hear ya on the hasty exits.

Jill said...

I'm actually a lot like Tom because I'm always looking for any kind of adult conversation these days.

My husband Matt ... TOTALLY like you. He can deal with small talk, but he has NO problem walking away. It's me who he has to wrangle ... and I never get the hint. On purpose of course. :)