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Thursday, November 22 , 2018, 3:49 am | Fog/Mist 52º


She Said, Z Said: Can You Hear Me Now?

Leslie may think he's playing it by ear, but Zak insists that just because he isn't listening doesn't mean he's not paying attention.

She: Sometimes I think you’re like a bat with your hearing, only the opposite.

Z: Sure.

She: Bats have evolved to hear echoes from high frequency sounds so they can find food. That’s what helps them survive in the wild.


Z: Yup. Uh-huh.

She: I think you’ve developed a super sensitivity to my voice, but in the opposite way. You don’t hear anything I say because it helps you survive living with me.

Z: Sudoku.

She: Zak, listen to me!

Z: I’m sorry, I was just thinking about something. It’s kind of interesting.

She: I’ll bite. What were you thinking?

Z: It occurs to me that sometimes when you tell me something, I don’t hear it. It’s like I’m at the bottom of a deep pond, and there’s a rock skimming across the surface that I’m only dimly aware of.

She: Deep pond?

Z: Pond, puddle, whatever. It’s a beautiful analogy. The point is — and I don’t want this to upset you or for it to be a deal breaker — I don’t always listen.

She: You don’t say?

Z: It’s true. It’s pretty much my sole failing as a husband. I know you thought I was perfect, but I’m not.

She: Ah, I’ve found your one and only flaw.

Z: And it’s not that I don’t think your every word doesn’t carry deep meaning and convey eternal truths. If another parent slighted our child by somehow suggesting that he was less than perfect, then I want to hear about it. Even if it takes an hour for you to tell me, I want to know.

She: You can’t possibly be suggesting that sometimes it takes me a while to get to the point. I could communicate really succinctly, like when I have to write a story in 500 words but I really want 750. I can do it. I really can. It’s not like I ramble on all the time.

Z: No, never. For instance, you would never go on and on about something your mother said. In fact, your relationship with your mother is a complete mystery. Do you even have a mother? You’ve barely ever mentioned her.

She: I think the reason it takes me a long time to tell you something sometimes is that I keep saying it in different ways to make sure that you actually hear me.

Z: Yup.

She: It’s actually an adaptation I’ve come up with to make sure you find out about the things you really need to know.

Z: OK, dude.

She: You’re not the only one who’s evolved to stay married. If I didn’t take a long time to get to the point I’d just be standing there yelling the same things over and over in different tones of voice. Sorta like I do with Koss.

Z: Beer. Good idea.

She: Zak, are you listening to me? Zak! Do you hear what I’m telling you? Listen to me.

Z: Really, even though we’ve been together for almost 300 years, I still feel like I barely know you. That’s why I’m so embarrassed that I don’t always listen as closely as I should.

She: You’re so embarrassed that you can write about and talk about and laugh about it but still not try to actually pay more attention.

Z: I am paying attention. It’s just that I’m trying to drink a beer at the same time and I can’t do both. And — oh, no! — now the TV is on, too.

She: I see.

Z: I’m thirsty.

She: You know, listening and doing something else isn’t exactly multitasking.

Z: Yup. Sudoku.

She: Are you even listening to me now?

Z: Mmm-hmm.

She: Zak!

Z: Yes, dear.

If you want to sound off to She and Z, you should e-mail Leslie at [email protected]. Zak seems to respond better to written instructions.

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