Listening: It’s like riding a bicycle

Listening: It’s like riding a bicycle

My wife often accuses me of not listening to her, but that’s because she doesn’t understand my brain.

I have a hypothesis about my brain, and I think most guys’ brains are the same way…

Listening is like riding a bike: I can only ride one bike at a time.

I’m not sure what’s going on in most guys’ brains. I can’t generalize or speculate, but in my case, I’m constantly thinking about something. My brain is always engaged on a memory, a thought, a problem I’m trying to solve, a character I’m trying to flesh out in my writing, an argument I had years ago, and so on…

When I’m in the middle of thinking, it’s like I’m riding a bike on a downward slope. The angle of that slope is either steep or gradual depending on how intense the topic I’m currently thinking about.

When my wife starts talking, I don’t intentionally ignore her. I care about her. I care about what she has to say.

But she’ll start telling me a story right when I’m going ten or fifteen miles an hour on my bike.

Have you ever tried to stop suddenly while riding your bike? You’ll just fall off the front.

Women (at least my wife) assume that we can simply stop pedaling our thoughts in mid stride, or worse: that we can have our butt cheeks on two different bikes at the same time going in different directions.

Girls probably can do this, but guys CAN’T. It’s like asking a kitten to bark, or a fish to tap dance, or a baby to smoke a cigar. Why would you ask a baby to smoke a cigar?

I read a book once titled, “Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti” essentially stating that men are very compartmentalized in their thinking process and women can multitask much more easily. This is a natural difference in our brain makeup. This is how God made us.

I often catch my wife in mid-sentence, or in the middle of a story, when I realize that she’s talking to me.

“What’d did you say, honey?”

It’s not that I don’t WANT to listen. It’s that I have to first slow down, stop my bike, put the foot-pedal down, walk over to her bike and hop on.

Women, please be patient with us guys. I personally don’t ignore my wife or women on purpose, and hopefully other married guys don’t either. The fact is that we CAN’T hear you until we’re finished with our current thought.

You wouldn’t ask your husband to try the salad while he’s still chewing on the meat.

Think of it like talking. If I’m talking (yes, to myself), I can’t hear you talk.

All I ask is to please be patient with us men, okay? And don’t treat us like we’re some kind of buffoons because of this, either, unless of course, we are intentionally ignoring you. In which case, you have a point to call us that.

Now, what were you saying, again?

(Feature image is property of momoclax)

About Michel Sauret

I'm a independent and literary fiction author and Pittsburgh-based photographer

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