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The Artist’s Lane #105 – Talk to the Pocket

This has absolutely nothing to do with art but maybe I can slide it in under the art of listening.

Recently we were spending time with friends. We have all grown older and understand we do not hear as well as we used to. That evening everyone was very serious about the conversation until it became so ridiculous, we couldn’t stop laughing.

My friend was exasperated and her husband was as sincere as he could be. He sat and nodded his head. He didn’t find anything humorous in the conversation but was offended that we didn’t understand him. He was talking about something totally unrelated to the conversation.

“Put on your hearing aid,” my friend shouted to her husband.

“I’ve been working all day, I’ve got a little job,” was his response.

“Do you see what I go through? He doesn’t hear me,” she said to us.

He looked at me for some kind of understanding and said, “I can hear everyone but her. I don’t like to wear my hearing aid because of the beeping.” I’m thinking, he’s asking me to understand. I’ve got to stay neutral; this argument has been going on for a long time and we just entered into their lives, there is no answer.

His feelings were hurt; I could see it in his eyes. His wife was exasperated and she was asking someone to hear what she lives with. Al remembered a joke and said, “Soup will do,” and I was thinking how I could turn this into an article. There were four different conversations going on and no one was hearing, and everyone thought they had something important to say.

The wife looked at his shirt pocket and said,

“He has a $5,000 hearing aid in his pocket and he won’t wear it. I guess I am just going to have to speak to his pocket,” and we all laughed.

They say there is a world in every head. So I guess we can say we are all in different worlds. Maybe it is time to get into the other’s head and relate to them.

How many times do we speak to the pocket? I am now communicating with my grandchildren on Face book. “The rents dn’t understnd, awesum dude.” My grandson writes.

I wrote back, “Who’s the rents?”

“My parents, ha, ha, ha, you’re funy grndma,” my grandson writes back. I have chatted with him more than I ever did before, even if it is in quick broken sentences with abbreviated words.

Our family had lunch with an old friend and the conversation came around to how the young people only converse through texting or face book. “They have lost the social skills of speaking to each other,” she made the comment. “How are they going to make it in the business world?”

My son-in-law responded, “Fine, they are all living in the same world and doing the same thing. We are the ones who do not belong.”

“Scary,” I thought, “They can’t even spell and they will be running the world some day, never talking, always texting.”

“Will they do more work or less?” Our friend responded.

Our son-in-law said, “Probably more. They will not be standing around the water cooler or hanging out at another employee’s desk. All the e-mailing and such is keeping the conversations short. People do not want to be on the phones, it takes too much time and too much talk.”

I went out to lunch the other day with a friend and we sat across the room from a table of four women (not girls), and all four were texting, no one was talking, everyone was engaged in their own world. We made the comment, “They haven’t said a word to each other the whole time,” and we surmised they were not really enjoying each other; they were busy looking down at their phones, making conversation with someone else. But maybe this was enjoyment to them.

Who knows? I want eye contact and good rich conversation, no prattling, and I want to look deep into another’s soul. That’s probably really nerve racking to most who do not want to be seen.

A friend came back from a large city where she attended church. She said at the end of the service, “The pastor said, ‘If any one has a prayer request, text me.’” We shake our heads, but isn’t that the way it is in today’s society? Where’s the heart-wrenching cry at the altar?

So how do we learn the art of listening when we are all talking to the pocket? I believe it takes getting into their world, hearing their heart, even if they are not hearing or talking. I am not sure how to do that, but I am trying.

Hopefully, we can be courteous and respectful where they are and they might be respectful where we are. For the young people, how can we condemn them? They know nothing else. They surely can’t appreciate sitting on the front porch swinging or hanging around the post office talking about the weather and saying nothing.

The final brushstroke: Don’t discount the world in another’s head; we can learn from them and them from us.

Readers’ Comments

Dear Betty:

Your article on Turn Around is Fair Play had good POV! Dreams! That’s what progress is made of!

Bl (another writer)

Farmington, N.M.


Gitta sounds like she was quite a treasure, at least to Al. Thanks for giving us the opportunity to discover the intrigue and passion of hunting, hunters and hunting dogs. The story from Al was a gem.



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Artist’s Quote

Nothing is ever lost by courtesy. It is the cheapest of pleasures, costs nothing, and conveys much. It pleases those who gives and receives and thus, like mercy, is twice blessed.