Aging and the art of timely communication

Yes I’m a type “A” personality. I like get it out and get it done. Not a lot of patience for you (unless you’re a cat).

Since I’ve gotten older people started talking slower. Or maybe they go down “rabbit holes” before they get to the point. The problem with that is that you can forget your point while navigating out of the burrows.

Occasionally I do it myself. I get too involved with the details and WAP! I forget what the point is. (Sometimes I even forget WHAT I was talking about. Damn rabbits!) So embarrassing. If my synapses are snapping I make up another point but usually not.

The more time you have, the more you embellish. There is nothing worse than getting in back of a senior who it engaging the cashier in a nonsensical conversation. (Insert eye rolls) The cashier is being polite while the line piles up. She shoots an apologetic smile to me. (I may be just like that someday so I shoot her a “that’s ok” smile back.)

I suppose this can happen with younger people but I’ve never seen it. They are almost always on their phone even when in check-out lines. They are late for wherever they are supposed to be. They don’t like to use their mouth to communicate. I’m often surprised that they don’t text the number of donuts in the bag to the cashier rather than say it.

There was a friend who would call people “Edith Bunker” if they were scooting around the point. (Oh wait, that would be me!) Edith was the queen of circular conversations. (Google her if you don’t know who she is!)

Since retirement I’ve been working on giving my personality an alphabet ride. I’m not at Type “B” yet but I’m definitely a Type “A-“. The difference is that I wait an extra minute before I roll my eyes, bang my head on the table and say “Get on with it Edith!”

Definitely working on this! This is going to happen to you too. You will either be like me or Edith!

 

61 thoughts on “Aging and the art of timely communication

  1. Pingback: Don’t Be Loopy! | Spirit Lights The Way

  2. We have patients who come in and just rattle on about any and all things irrelevant to our office at the check-in window. I just listen and imagine them sitting in an empty house eating tuna from a can with no friends or assume they are like me and must talk to anything with a pulse for no reason (just ask my kids) I must be a Type M

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    • Doctors offices are often a place where older folks come without anything to occupy them until their appointment. Since I don’t have anything better to do (except read People magazine) I will usually engage in conversations. I always think it’s the folks who don’t have enough people to talk to but it ends up that they go to a senior center, have a book club and a dance club. I go away feeling like I’m a slug without a life!

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  3. The thing that drives me absolutely nuts is when someone waits until all their merchandise has been scanned, they are given the total, THEN they search around for their checkbook in the bottom of their purse, pull it out, and start to write their check (yes, it’s usually women and, yes, they still write checks). Maybe they thought it was Free Day and they wouldn’t have to pay anything?

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    • One time I asked a woman why she wrote a check for groceries and didn’t use cash or a debit or credit card. She doesn’t like to walk around with cash and doesn’t trust those payment thingies because they broadcast private information over facebook. (Yes, that was a real answer.) Never asked again.

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  4. My friends and I used to play a drinking game of “what worst quality in your parents do you most fear you’ll emulate someday?” I forget exactly how it was actually a drinking game (usually just showing up solved that). But my response was always how my mother could answer any question in a way that would have made Leo Tolstoy proud. They were epic in length. I regularly plead with my wife to just shoot me if I become that person.

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  5. Nothing teaches you patience with seniors like working in a nursing home, which I did for nine years. I worked in the business office so I didn’t have direct contact all day, but enough to make me slow down and understand their struggles. At times it’s hilarious, but I’m not looking forward to getting there myself.

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    • Surprisingly I can have patience with seniors…sort of. Sometimes they don’t have enough socialization in their own lives. People don’t want to spend time with them or take them shopping because it all takes so long. I love spending time with my brother and his wife — mid 80s — although they are very active people and don’t need me to help them socialize. It behooves us to remember we will be one of them old-timers in the not too distant future.

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  6. I’ll admit it, I scan the various checkout lines and try and jump in one without a senior — self-checkout lines are great for this, but only if you don’t bring your own bag or have coupons.

    I’m also the impatient driver behind the senior doing 20 mph in a 40 mph zone. Invariably I start yelling rhetorical questions at the slow citizen ahead of me — from the safe confines of my car, of course, with the windows rolled up. One of them is always, “I have PLACES TO BE! Don’t you HAVE PLACES TO BE?!!”

    At which point, like you, I always realize NO. No, they don’t.

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  7. This is interesting, because I’ve always thought of myself as a Type A personality, as well. I went from working in government (where that personality does NOT fit at ALL) to running my own business as a freelance writer. I’m in control but I’m very controlling about the way I do things…and clients don’t always fit into that, so they can drive me crazy. Once I retire, I figure I’ll be controlling about other things, but YES…listening to people ramble on and not make sense does seem to drive me crazy as I get older. I want to control their conversations, too…but mostly, don’t waste my time with your 30-minute conversation if you can get to the same point in 30 seconds!

    Stephanie
    http://stephie5741.blogspot.com

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    • I am so sorry to say that if you are like that now you won’t change when you retire. You may give someone a whole minute but I still can’t stand the folks who beat around the bush forever! Sometimes I resort to making choking motions with my hands on my neck!

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  8. When people expect me to listen, I want them to have a point . . . and reach it.

    I’ve been in conversations with folks who set out in one direction, veer off into another, take a detour, drop into a digression . . . all without EVER circling back to the initial point.

    Even when I remind them of their starting point (because I was paying attention to what they were saying even if they weren’t), they still can’t complete the loop.

    They’re just LOOPY!!!! 😛

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  9. Had to laugh. Husband has always been a “give waaaay more information that anyone needs to understand what you are trying to say” – you could go “la-la-la-la” for lone periods and not miss anything just like soap opera plots. Now I find we are both needing to watch for elaborating (and boring people) too much
    Loved the post!

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  10. Sadly, I’m much more Edith than Kate in this regard. I start in one place, and before your know it, I’ve talked circles around something vague, all while trying to remember where I was headed in the first place. Most of the time I never do get around to getting back to the original point.

    I’m guessing you’re really closer to a B+ than an A- (especially if you have the “Oh, that’s okay” smile down already). We really do become our mothers sometimes, don’t we? I can remember being so frustrated (even while trying to keep my patient and accepting smile in place) when my mother would “go off on a tangent”. Now I’ve ended up becoming tangent-dental myself. 🙂

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  11. So funny because just yesterday I sat next to a 77 year old woman in a waiting room and 20 minutes later, I can kind of tell you her whole life story because she started talking and never stopped. There were several tangents. Trying to pull a blog post together from the experience but you know how that goes. Also, bagels! Yes! I was going to have a bagel before I went yesterday morning and would have missed this woman. Of course, penguins. Because. Never mind Archie.

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  12. 😀 Hilarious! I’m already like you, but I have infinite patience when it comes to the elderly in front of me who keeps rambling. I don’t know their situation. They could be alone and just need to talk to someone–anyone. So I let them ramble away. But in other areas, I can be quite an eye roller.

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  13. Hubs and I tend to engage the cashier in conversation in the checkout line. Too many times we’ve seen people before us spend HUNDREDS and not say a single word. Nine times out of ten though the people behind us join in the conversation too, so we don’t feel guilty if there is a bit of a queue. 🙂

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    • Locally here the cashiers are friendly as long as it doesn’t inconvenience other shoppers. However when the queue is long, there are people trying to get back to work or to their next appointment. Usually I keep my “friendliness” short and succinct.

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