Help! I need to shut my mouth!

I was a shy kid growing up and I quite honestly didn’t find my voice around people until my Junior year in High School. But even then I was very cautious when in conversations with others, particularly if I didn’t know the individual very well. Answers to questions up to that point in life were generally ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and if I had to say more than that I was very careful and economical in my word selection. The less I said, the better as far as “teenage-me” was concerned.

When “Adult-me” realized that people were actually interested in some (not all) of the things that I had to say, the world fell victim to my non-stop rhetoric on just about anything. Ask a simple question and you could potentially be tied up for an hour as you listened to my unsolicited tirade on things like parenting, the Chief-Of-Staff, gas prices, the NBA play-offs, religion and life in general. If you don’t give me the right non-verbal queues to inform me that you’re bored, annoyed or angry with my opinion I’ll just assume that you want me to go on for another hour.

Sometimes I have a habit of asking off the wall questions to solicit a particular response so that I can cut you off mid-sentence and give you my own answer because I’m not really interested in yours.

“So….what’s your opinion on working moms?”
“Uh, I think mom’s should stay at home.”
“Really? Why?”
“Well…because children need…
“Here’s what I think and you may not have considered this…”

Great communication skills right? And if I feel like there is a lull in the ‘conversation’ I will continue to pester you with questions or continue my monologue because really its all about getting you to understand and buy into my theories, right?

Wrong! And poor Super Mom has been victimized by my insensitivity on many, many occasions. So when she feels like I’m starting to do the same thing in the company of others, she gives me “The Signal”.

“The Signal” is really not any one signal in particular. It could be “The Stare”. It could be “The Pinch”, “The Elbow”, “The Kick”, “The Fork in the Back”, “The Exercise Ball to the Head”, “The Squeeze”, “The Slap to the back of the Neck” or any other variation of attention-getting method to make me stop. I’m particularly adept at recognizing the “Turn and Walk Away” method. This one in particular, immediately kicks me off my soap box and sends me into a muted trance. And if I don’t respond to that non-verbal queue, Super Mom will shoot me the “Disgusted Eyeball Roll” which generally means, “You dear sir have earned a night in the penalty box with no dinner. Your pillow and blanket eagerly await your presence on the couch.”

Lately, I’ve come to the realization that I really don’t need to let everyone know what’s on my mind between the appetizers and dessert. I have learned to vent my frustrations in my journal and this blog has helped me to articulate things better without the self-aggrandizement. Twitter and Facebook have helped too because Twitter limits you to 140-characters and who wants to read a status update that is two words short of a book report?

I guess right now would be a good time to apologize to you, my friends and family who feel like you need to listen to me drone on about everything and nothing at all. When you’re in a pickle and you’ve had enough of my banter, use any of the methods (above) that Super Mom employs to shut me up or just simply tell me that I’ve exceeded my time limit on your “I’m listening and I care” meter. The ultimate goal for me is to have friends and keep them.

I’ll shut up now!

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