Bunga, Bunga, Cowabunga


(Sophie watching me update the blog.)

Not much motivates me to write these days; I’m continuing to bounce around in day-to-day mode, living in the moment. But, while in the shower this morning, just thinking about writing something trailed off into considering my communication skills in general.

Abby has just dropped off of Facebook and I suspect it’s not in small part because she has reached a point in her academic and professional development where she doesn’t want a lot of silliness on such a public forum- and face it, many of us have a lot of silliness hanging there on that page. It may also be that she is simply more mature and productively busy than, say, her mother and doesn’t want to bother with the distraction of idle one liners. Whatever it is, she’s off FB, along with all of her cute photos of her in dreads when she was fourteen and so forth. So I wrote her an e-mail last night and said I missed her presence there (and being able to communicate with idle silly one-liners) and that I had only signed up for FB in the first place, all those years ago, so I could keep track of her life as she moved away from me. Hover, intrude, that sort of thing. She answered my e-mail promptly with, “Too bad you can’t talk on the phone.” Well, she’s correct about that. I really dislike talking on the phone and now I fear that there are people who think I just don’t care enough about our relationship to have a decent telephone conversation with them. If I answer the phone at all I usually, in short order, concoct some ridiculous lame ass excuse when they are mid-sentence (“whoa! call you back! someone just drove up on the lawn!” click.) or worse yet, I interrupt them as they are telling me about a life-changing experience with, “Okay then. Talk soon. Bye! Love you!” Recently, to compensate for my inability to stay on the phone I’ve developed the habit of adding, “Love you!” at the end of all together too many calls. I did that the other day with a total stranger who found my number and wanted to talk to me about whether she could felt her cat’s fur. I do care about my friends and family and I think about them a lot; I guess I just don’t care enough to work through my telephone issues. However, you should all believe me when I suggest you come see me, on the mountain or here in Florida in the cold months. Those offers are sincere and I really would like to see you and cook for you and look at you, possibly hug you.

Another thing that really annoys my children and husband is my habit of stopping mid-sentence when I’m speaking with them. I would be concerned that this is some sort of dementia setting in except that I’ve done this for years. Abby says things like, “yes, and then?” to jump start the completion of a thought; Rich just says, “finish.” Perhaps it comes from spending 30+ years as a therapist, trying to make sense of the words and thoughts of others while simultaneously rooting around for some sage advice or resolution to their problem. This process involved organizing lots of jumbled ideas combined with the need to offer an enlightening response in fairly short order.

Working as a psychotherapist means spending a lot of time sitting in a chair, lost in the world of stream of consciousness- theirs, yours. It also, for me, involved a lot of time on the telephone- taking and returning calls that could go on for a bit. For years I functioned very well with high level communication skills, very successfully. Many therapists take the easy way out by narrowing their vocabulary to “ah” and “um-mmm” but I did not. I’m not being immodest here when I say I was quite competent and much sought after as a psychotherapist.

As a lot of you know, when I was through with that part of my life I moved on to the Lincoln Park Zoo. That was a great transition for me. I desperately missed my profession and the people I cared for, but the zoo provided an opportunity to talk with hundreds, no, thousands of people on subjects I was passionate about without having to worry lest someone jump off a bridge.  I’d get so wrapped up in talking about the mating rituals of Piping plovers or the niche occupied by the Sichuan takin that eyes would glaze over and people would wander off to the sea lions. Seriously, I was good at that job, too. If I’d stayed at it for decades I most likely would have become like one of the other docents who no longer spoke to the visitors and, in fact, detested them; she just wanted to hold the blue-tongued skink and shoo the children away. But then we moved from the Windy City to the mountain house.

So now I teach felt-making. Apparently, I’m pretty good at this too but much of the communication evolves around demonstrating with my hands. I still have to talk and I’m sometimes concerned that a lot of what I’m saying is coming out as gibberish, especially when I start comparing wool fleece to human hair (some is good for dreads, some is not, etc.).


(Sophie is rolling her eyes. What is she telling me here?)

Okay. Now I’m sitting here wondering where the hell I was going with this post. When I was in the shower, in a mere 6 minutes, I covered my communication skills, my relationships with Rich and the children, the roll of stream of conscious thought in my life, Virginia Woolf and her position on the plotless novel, the insane gibberish of certain presidential wannabes, the slippery slope of verbal promises impossible to keep, and plans for making a felted moon jelly. And, I was going to discuss the origins of “bunga, bunga, cowabunga” which, contrary to popular thought, were not from Chief Thunderthud on the Howdy Doody Show of my childhood but were really tied to Virginia Woolf and the Dreadnaught hoax. And I had all of that worked into a cohesive blog post. Now I’ve wasted an hour plonking away and have come to the conclusion that when your mind works like this it’s best to say nothing. Nothing at all.

Whoa! The mailman just knocked the box off the house! Love you!


17 responses to “Bunga, Bunga, Cowabunga

  1. Love the photos of Sophie.

  2. Are you my long-lost twin sister? Actually since I have a twin brother (a social worker), I think we must be triplets. Hate the phone, and really, just want to hang around with the animals. One big difference though, I don’t want people coming to the house to visit either. Too much talking, kibbitzing, and schlepping. Oy, I’m such a curmudgeon.

    Love you!

  3. Love you, too. You, me and Robin Andrea are triplets. I now hate talking on the phone to almost anyone. Perhaps it was the 27 years I spent conversing with brides and their mothers, who called at any hour of the day because they knew I worked from home and “it would be okay.” I’m better in print, anyway. Using my voice, I also lose my train of thought and stop in mid-sentence – and in print – that doesn’t show, since I can always come back to it.

    The photos of Sophie and precious. She is such a beautiful color. Love her, and you.

  4. I heard this quote yesterday which I have been rolling around in my head waiting for a great opportunity to share it. It think this is appropriate: “Better to say nothing and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and prove it.” Miss you. If I can ever get over whatever has its grip on me, I will be up there with a jug of fresh orange juice that will get you talking even if I have to slip some vodka in it.

  5. Oh no–you must be the sister my husband never had. He does that–starts to tell me something, then stops mid-sentence. I wait…and wait…and–oh never mind. Anyway, since I am accused of NOT listening to him, I wait then finally say–AND?
    By then he forgets what he was saying. Sigh.

    As for Sophie–she knows. Whatever it is, she knows. She’s a beauty, by the way.

    I enjoy your few and far-between blogs. I too think of subjects to blog on whilst showering, and forget them as I towel dry. Again, sigh.

  6. THESE are the blog posts for which I wait. And wait. But then savor.

    We are kindred spirits you and I. I have different ring tones set on my phone so I know without even looking which ones I will want to pick up and which ones I can just let roll.

    Keith does that trailing off thing, too. I’d blame the brain tumor, but if I had a memory, any memory at all, I’d suspect he did it before that. But it’s possible it’s a brain tumor thing.

    Hugs. I know you’re invitations are sincere. I was there. I’d love to come to the mountain. Hopefully some day. Thought I’d have done it by now. Love you.

  7. love Sophie, has she got a bit of Burmese in her? Bet she talks to you!

  8. My grandpa and grandma used to write me letters, before the dawn of personal computers, and they each had their own writing style. Grandma would fill me in on the latest family gossip while grandpa would indulge his own stream-of-consciousness, talking alternately about the weather, a fly pestering him, an observer’s comment on his typing skills, how he was feeling that day, etc. I miss those letters as I miss both of them.

    Aren’t one-liners for twitter?

  9. Crap! I hate it when I miss one of your few-and-far-between posts! Like you, I hate talking on the phone. I can only tolerate it if I can do something at the same time, like fold laundry. Or, um, drive. (Don’t tell.)

    Love you. Would really like to come to that mountain some day.

  10. Skink and shoo?
    No dreadlocks, naught for you!
    Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf?
    And, what is this moon jelly of which you spoof?

    If presidential wannabes
    Make you wanna bawl,
    You should read up on
    And vote for the good Dr. Paul.

    Our precinct has four delegates
    And, this part, how I like:
    All four of us share
    The last name of Dike.

    When you don’t post
    This fan gets dour;
    How ’bout more details
    Of you in the shower?

  11. I’m not sure you’ll see this after 6 months, but clearly you need to come to the dark side: PINTEREST!

  12. Did you move to another blog and not tell me? This is why I hate Facebook (okay, one of many reasons). Miss you.

  13. Stilllllll missing yoooooou. 😦

  14. Kimber Phillippo

    I’ve enjoyed reading your blog. Thank you! I started reading about your Moh’s experience. I’m in the middle of my third Efudex facial treatment. From Moh’s I wondered to “Bunga, Bunga, Cowabunga. What a treat! I relate so well to your…um, shall we say, phone phobia. Ask my closest friends, I rarely make phone calls. And then there’s the subject of dropping off of Facebook. Why do people enjoy sharing their lives one line at a time, several times a day? Anyway, I’m rambling…my stream of consciousness…I miss, Paz, my therapist. Maybe I’ll reconnect. Nah, that would mean having to make a phone call. Thanks again for sharing yourself! Love you! :o)

  15. Oh, how I wish you were still writing here! I hate the phone too, although with new hearing aids, connected to bluetooth – it is better for me!

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