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The Hill I Will Die On

I hate having to repeat myself.  It has been a pet peeve of mine for a long time.  I get unreasonably angry and frustrated when forced to repeat myself, even if the person I’m speaking to honestly didn’t hear what I said.  I can’t explain these feelings.  I’ve tried to understand it, I’ve tried to control it, and someday I might do both, but for now, I’ve just had to accept that this is just the way I am.  Unfair?  Overblown?  Yes and yes, but there it remains.

In most ways Mr. Goldragon and I compliment one another in our weirdnesses.  Most ways, but not this one.  He has both a terrible memory and poor hearing.  I think we’ve come to a point where we’ve met in the middle to a certain extent.  He knows that if he really wants to know what I just said, he’s got to be prepared to have the information he seeks snapped back at him.  And if he asks what I just said, I don’t always snap it out.  Anymore.

But he is the very least of my frustration in this area.  For as much as I hate repeating myself, it makes me wonder why on earth I had kids.  Because kids?  They require things to be repeated.  Over and over and over again.  Lessons that you’d think would be apparent like “don’t shit your pants,” or “don’t destroy your things if you still want to have them” must be repeated.  Not once.  Not even twice, but countless times until you think that all you’ve said, all you will ever say, the only words you know, even, are, “don’t touch that!” and “Put the cat down!”

And that would be bad enough!  But it gets worse.  Not only do they make you repeat everything you’ve said to them ad nauseam, but they also insist that you repeat everything that they themselves say! Just to prove that you heard them.  And they repeat everything they say too.  So 95% of what is said around you is just endless echoes of what has already been said.  I need not ask if hell exists, for truly this is it.

The last time the Girl got in one of her information loops, in an attempt to show her how irritating repetition could be, I started asking her the same questions about what she was saying.

She said, “The orange cat ate her food!  The orange cat ate her food!  Hey Mummy, the orange cat ate her food!”

“Oh yeah?” I said, “what did the orange cat eat?”

“She ate her food!” she said.

“Uh huh,” I said, “and what colour is the cat?”

“She’s orange!” she said.

“Hmmm,” I responded, “and what did she eat?”

“She ate her food!” she said, just as brightly as she had the first time.

“Right,” said I, “and what colour is she?”

Except that it totally backfired, as she didn’t see anything wrong with me asking for information which had already been clearly established in her opening statements, so she happily answered my redundant questions as often as I cared to ask them.  She thought we were having a nice conversation.  In her place, that kind of tomfoolery would have been enough to send me into a blinding rage.  Lesson not learned.  Again. And again.

I only have one talking child at this point.  By the time the Boy is old enough for all the repeating I will either be so sensitive to repetition that listening to “I’m Walkin’ on Sunshine” will be enough to send me into a huddled, shivering heap on the floor.  OR, I will be desensitized to the point where I can watch “Groundhog Day” and completely miss the point.  I’m not even sure which is the preferable outcome.


6 responses to “The Hill I Will Die On

  1. Flora Fauna ⋅

    When confounded by this issue I often simply refused to repeat myself and discovered that most of the time the person actually DID hear me and would be able to respond appropriately. This however would leave me with another dilemma, namely WHY ON EARTH DO THEY PERSIST IN TRYING TO MAKE ME REPEAT MYSELF? I solved the issue by yelling for 30 years. Now I am able to do public speaking to large crowds without a microphone so, in the end, I won.

  2. IfByYes

    This reminds me of psycholinguistics class. Some text we read talked about a kid who just asked “where?” all the time, until the poor Dad got insanely frustrated by his child’s inane questions.

    Then he discovered that kids just want to keep a conversation going, and since most adults converse with children in the form of questions, it’s natural for them to just keep repeating questions in order to keep the conversation going.

    Makes me wonder if we couldn’t manipulate this. Perhaps by only responding to unique sentences?

    Probably easier said than done.

  3. swamphag23 ⋅

    I have many opinions in this area. I, too, get completely irritated when I have to repeat myself constantly. The worst is when someone lets you go on and say full paragraphs of information before they ask “Oh sorry, could you repeat that?”. Well, I say, it depends on how long you want to live. I can repeat it, but it’ll cost you.

    On the other side of it, I hate having to admit that I didn’t hear someone. Where I work there are some people who talk in the softest, most monotone voices imaginable. When asked to repeat what they just said, they continue talking in the same voice that proved ineffective the first time. I believe the solution there is for them to remove their head from their rear-end so that I can then hear what they have to say.

    This may perhaps also be why I find it so exhausting to engage in games with children. They always find games most amusing when there is constant repetition, over and over you must do some mindless task to provide them with entertainment. It’s like the song that never ends. Have you ever found an adult that likes that song?

  4. Pingback: Amusingly apt title « The Domesticated Nerd Girl

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