Loquacity, n. A disorder which renders the sufferer unable to curb his tongue when you wish to talk. -- Ambrose Bierce, from The Devil's Dictionary
The blaring phone interrupted my intense struggle with the latches on my bra. My sister Jane, having immediately locked on to the irritated edge in my voice, asked, "Everything okay?" "No," I snapped. "I have this new strapless bra, the kind that goes down your whole torso and connects at the back, and I can't get the fucking thing on right."
"Downstairs. But I don't want to ask him for help."
"Hmm," mused Jane. "I'm never so mad at Simon that I wouldn't ask him to zip me up."
Jane often razzes me about my romantic-novel-perfect relationship with David, so I figured I'd throw her a tasty, illusion-shattering bone. "I refuse to ask him," I said. "I'm that mad."
She didn't voice it, but I sensed a barely restrained "Ooooooh." To her credit, Jane had no schadenfreudistic urge for details and refrained from asking why I was so pissed. Instead, she simply said, "I'll let you go. I'm sure everything will work out and that you're going to have a great time tonight."
I disconnected the call and plopped down on the edge of the bed with a huff. That's where David found me, glaring at the bra in my hands. "What's up?" he said. I didn't answer, and he continued into the closet to select his outfit for the evening. A few minutes later, I sulked my way into the closet, held the undergarment against my chest, and showed David my back. Aiming for a tone of polite indifference, I said, "Will you please help me with this?" When he attached the last hook, I muttered, "thank you."
I waited until I was dressed to confront David, who was trimming his goatee. "First of all, I'm sorry I interrupted you," I said. "On a separate note, it's not okay for you to yell at me." My voice quavered with emotion. David eyed me while he considered my words. "Apology accepted," he said, to which I stomped away in anger.
Finished dressing, David made his way downstairs, where he found me standing at the window, staring down a bird that was perched on a telephone wire. "You didn't even say sorry," I said. "I was just being playful. You didn't have to go all psycho and shit."
"I was frustrated.... Okay, I know that's still no excuse," said David. "I shouldn't have raised my voice. I'm sorry I yelled at you."
I searched David's eyes for sincerity, found it, and went in for a hug. We exchanged whispered "I love you"s, the sentiment a refreshing salve for the momentary discomfort we'd shared.
"All right then," I said, straightening my shoulders and directing my thoughts to our plans for the evening. "Janet and Andrew dropped out, Jen and Rob are going to meet here and ride with us, Rosa and Josue will caravan, and Amy will meet us downtown." David and I set off in good spirits for Chive, one of our preferred restaurants, to dine with a handful of our favorite people. Our tiff had been resolved, but the underlying issue that had caused it -- our drastic differences in communication styles -- would soon surface again.
Interrupting is rude; I get that. But sometimes I don't feel I'm "interrupting" as much as "contributing," or adding a dash of flavor to a potentially bland conversation. There are many ways to reach a point -- David takes the slow, circuitous, detail-lined path, guiding people like a Sherpa, pointing out so many things along the way that his listeners may lose focus on which point is the point. Conversely, I like to sharpen my point, paint it a bright color, and impale my listeners with it.
So, it's no wonder that when David was trying to explain something to me and I interrupted him to make what I thought was a funny joke, he snapped, having been driven to his wit's end by several hundred prior instances of interruption. Despite his obvious suffering, I am not willing to change this about myself; I take too much delight in my playful interjections. Thus, it was imperative that I find a way to convince David to stop disdaining this irritating but often fun aspect of my personality.
My moment came during dinner the following night. David and I joined Rosa and Josue for a stroll down the street to Bite, Chris Walsh's new restaurant in Hillcrest. Sometime between the second and third round of food, Rosa began telling us about her friends in Mexico. She spoke slowly, "They used to think Josue was gay because he would wear these..."
"Butt-less chaps?" I blurted, and noted David's laughter.
When she was finished telling us how her husband had deftly dealt with a handful of homophobes, I posed my question to Rosa: "Were you offended when I interrupted you to make that joke?" No, she said, she thought it was funny. I turned to David. "See? That's what I was trying to do yesterday, make a joke, thinking it might make you laugh like that, after which you would continue with what you were saying."
"But I felt like you didn't care what I had to say," said David.
"Rosa," I said, commanding my friend's attention, "did you feel like I didn't want to hear the rest of your story? Don't mean to put you on the spot, but I'm trying to prove a point to this one here."
"No, not at all," she answered. Rosa comes from a large family, similar to mine, in which each woman, accustomed to fighting for the conch, can navigate digressions and field interruptions adroitly, without ever losing sight of her finish line, her point.
"Well, what about when you don't let me finish talking?" David asked. "Like when my story's scheduled destination is New York and you hijack it and divert it to Havana?" Josue laughed at this and, in appreciation, David refilled his wine glass for him.