Engineers in the Mist….

by Natalie P.

June 5, 2008 | Filed Under Lifestyles of the Heartlessly Bitchy, Random Silliness | 2 Comments

The bf is, *ahem*, somewhat quieter than I am. [Understatement Alert!]  Perhaps it’s an “Engineer” thing…

Let me put it this way, his OWN MOTHER said,  in front of him,  “[bf] was late to start talking, and then when he did, he didn’t have much to say.”

His sister-in-law says that when she was dating his brother back in high school, all the bf did was *grunt* irritatedly at her.

But for all that, he’s not typically *shy*. He loves to go out to parties or dancing or to concerts.  He loves to observe and listen and laugh. He never appears uncomfortable in a crowd, and he’s quite able to give presentations to large groups of people.  He just doesn’t like to make small-talk.  This is not to say that he is uncomfortable speaking when there is something he has to say, and he’s highly articulate both verbally and in writing, he’s just very economical with his spoken words.

Sometimes that extends to him grunting, using facial expressions or pointing at things when trying to communicate with me.  I am, shall we say, MUCH more verbal than that. And while I am getting better at interpreting his sign language and expressions, it doesn’t always work for me.  I have been known to say on occasion, in response to a series of grunts and pointing, “I have no idea what you want.  Use your words.”  It is good that I had children, as I have prior experience in trying to coax verbal communication out of non and pre-verbal humans.

Last night he had a conversation (oh the irony!) with my son’s gf (for whom I just bought and presented the XKCD T-shirt, “Just Shy. Not Antisocial. You can talk to me!”) about their mutual intense dislike of “making smalltalk”. My son’s gf laughed at the shirt, but insists that she should have one  that says, “Just Antisocial, Not Shy. Don’t talk to me.”  However the “conversation” was mostly one-sided even in that instance. She exclaimed how inept she felt making small-talk and how it ended up causing her to feel like she came across looking and sounding stupid (She is anything but!) because she’d blurt out inane things to try and make conversation, and the bf responded by putting his hand out, palm up and giving me the emphatic, “There! See? That’s what I mean!” expression, combined with the, “I-*totally*-get-it-and-I-feel-your-pain”, look and nod towards her. 

I’ve become very good at reading his expressions, though I still don’t have much patience for the pointing and grunting.

Then again, there are other occasions where we absolutely connect with completely minimalist conversation.   A case in point:  In mid-January, on one of my rare “drive to work” days, I offered to pick him up on my way home.  He got in the car, buckled up, and said nothing as we drove off.  The conversation that followed was EXACTLY this:

 After a few blocks I said, “Did you read the ThinkGeek newsletter today?”. 

He responded, “I read it last night.” 

(Thinkgeek periodically sends out newsletters with tidbits on a bunch of new products.  This newsletter was no different. The had a whole whack of cool new things in the store.)

We drove a couple more blocks through downtown traffic in silence, and then he said, looking at me, “You KNOW we are going to have to get them.”

I immediately replied, staring intently at the road, “They are sold out.”

Him, “No! Not already.”

Me, “I’m on the waiting list.”

There was a pause in the conversation.  He finally said, “Our friends will vomit.”

Me, “Isn’t that the point?”

He grinned.

We drove the rest of the way home listening to the music on the radio.

(One week later I got the email that they were back in stock and I placed the order.  Yes, I know, not terribly Heartless of me… but it was worth the looks of utter disgust on our friend’s faces.)

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2 comments so far
  1. "gunner" June 6, 2008 3:16 pm

    there’s a thing called “companionable silence”, we know you’re there, and happy that you are, but we’ve got nothing to say at the moment, and just being with you is a pleasure. this drives some women nuts, others enjoy it, being sure in themselves and not needing constant affirmation.
    “gunner”

  2. Vijay February 17, 2009 3:58 pm

    Yes! yeS!

    Go Engineers!!!!

    Wohoo!!!!

    Quo fas et gloria ducunt!!!


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