I have officially become a reader of Kindle books. This is a horribly wonderful thing for me. I am a compulsive person. When I eat I eat too much, when I talk I talk too much, when I work I work too much, I have to finish things I start which I why I don’t have a lot of hobbies, I would never sleep..So this compulsion also rules my reader self. I got the tablet and the app around Christmas. I have read 4 books and I had to lay it down because first off this costs money and second off I don’t sleep or speak or do things that matter if I read. My friend Patrick at work told me “you have to set boundaries for yourself.”
I pretty much laughed at this as I have no boundaries ask my children. I have none whatsoever. I think I will try to do this and if I master it here then good luck to the people who have overstepped my bounds for all these years !
Enough of the introduction I want to talk about a subject in the book the Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein that has stayed in my heart since I read it. ( I highly recommend this book by the way.)
The author of the book is a dog named Enzo. It is all told in his perception of the way humans live and the relationships and behaviors we have. His perceptions are very wise.
In the book he tells how humans don’t listen to each other. How we are hearing them and all the while we are planning the next thing we will say and then we step in and start on our story before they get to tell theirs. I know this to be so true. I do it much more than I am proud to acknowledge. I actually caught myself several times in the past week during conversations with my kids .. Shar in particular where she was still talking and I jumped in over top of it. I have also on many occasions been cut off in the midst of what I was saying as if there was no matter to what I had to say. It gives the impression that you find the story or the teller unworthy of your time. This is a terrible albeit human habit.
For a belated New Years Goal (I will not make resolutions-remember) I am going to try harder to listen. If you are a person who talks to me quite frequently you may need to remind me. I am a talker, but I do listen just sometimes not really well. I know my friend’s families, their stories, some heartaches and happiness and their stories actually add to my life. So it is an unselfish-selfish act to actually listen.
I am going to end my blog with the actual quote from the book as I think I can’t express nearly as well as Enzo.
Here’s why I will be a good person. Because I listen. I cannot talk, so I listen very well. I never deflect the course of the conversation with a comment of my own. People, if you pay attention to them, change the direction of one another’s conversations constantly. It’s like being a passenger in your car who suddenly grabs the steering wheel and turns you down a side street. For instance, if we met at a party and I wanted to tell you a story about the time I needed to get a soccer ball in my neighbor’s yard but his dog chased me and I had to jump into a swimming pool to escape, and I began telling the story, you, hearing the words “soccer” and “neighbor” in the same sentence, might interrupt and mention that your childhood neighbor was Pele, the famous soccer player, and I might be courteous and say, Didn’t he play for the Cosmos of New York? Did you grow up in New York? And you might reply that, no, you grew up in Brazil on the streets of Tres Coracoes with Pele, and I might say, I thought you were from Tennessee, and you might say not originally, and then go on to outline your genealogy at length. So my initial conversational gambit – that I had a funny story about being chased by my neighbor’s dog – would be totally lost, and only because you had to tell me all about Pele. Learn to listen! I beg of you. Pretend you are a dog like me and listen to other people rather than steal their stories.”
― Garth Stein, The Art of Racing in the Rain