Tuesday 31 March 2020

Talking, again

Talking to myself, again . . .

I have spent large chunks of time with small and larger children, my own and my own’s own and my own’s owns’ own. A constant barrage of ‘Why?’ and ‘No’ from earliest toddlerdom is followed by years of ‘How do you spell . . . ?’ and ‘What does . . . mean?’ and Where’s . . . ?’ interspersed with my homilies on subjects ranging from the inadvisability of wearing four-inch heels and bare legs in the middle of a cold snap to the wisdom or otherwise of sailing in a Force 9 gale.

There have always been animals around as well, mingling with children of various ages and sizes so of course they must be included in conversations. I reassure the birds as I set out their food and ask the fish if all is well in their watery world. There used to be frogs but they have disappeared, possibly having fallen prey to the rats, which in turn fell prey to Barry’s air rifle and, latterly, the cats. However, we still have newts, though we don’t often see them. The plants and trees are given encouragement and I marvel at the bees and congratulate them on their pollen-collecting skills. I even talk to spiders to ask them to please keep their distance. The dogs and cats are always with us and both of us talk to them all the time, probably more than we talk to each other.
There is little wonder then that I talk all the time.

Our children are grown and flown and when they visit everyone talks at once and no-one listens. The dogs and cats listen intently until they have been fed, watered or exercised, then they sleep. I know Barry hears me but often doesn’t listen (or register) for he inhabits another planet entirely so usually my words fall on deaf ears, or at least ears that are selectively deaf.

I can never understand people who say, ‘I didn’t know I’d lost my voice because I hadn’t seen anyone to talk to.’ I would know instantly and then ask myself why I was whispering.

Sadly, I don’t talk now, so much as mutter, as I complain about whatever or whoever has upset me. I am becoming – am already – a GOW. When did the muttering take over from the talking? I can’t put a precise date on it though it may have coincided with Barry retiring from work and spending more time at home. He always has at least three projects on the go at any one time and each activity requires a different set of tools/instruments which must be left out, ‘So I know where they are for the next time I need them.’ The ‘next time’ may be some days, or even weeks, away and meantime the stuff remains in place to gather dust and join the animals in the obstacle course that is ever-present, ever-shifting in my home.

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