Don’t talk – just listen.

I told my daughter Sarah the other day (who is 32 years old) that I remember what it was like being 14.   Alas, I spent a couple of hours today with three 14 year old girls where my primary function was transport to, transport from, and low key supervision at the Street Fair – and I concede that I probably don’t really remember what it was like to be 14.

As is true with most outings with Cheyenne’s friends, I am strongly encouraged at the outset by Cheyenne to not attempt to engage with her friends.  In the past, my attempts to talk to, and interact with, her friends was viewed as abnormal and torturous for Cheyenne and her friends.  Such attempts were labeled by Cheyenne as creepy and stalker-ish.  So today I said virtually nothing and I just listened to the chatter of three 14 year old girls who haven’t seen each other for a month or so.

I have to tell you, it was exhausting.  They moved from one topic to the next so quickly that I felt like I needed a sportscaster and slow motion playback to catch it all.  I think after a handful of minutes of my silence they darn near forgot I was even in the car. They went on and on about a litany of topics – sometimes quite humorously – and I just drove.

Cheyenne, Sonja, and Sofia

Once at the Street Fair they put as much distance between them and me as possible.  I was not shocked by this – social pariah that I am.  Yet they allowed me to snap some photos of them and Cheyenne even let me have a sip of her smoothie, so I guess I am not quite ready for banishment to the Island of Misfit Toys.

I personally had an enjoyable solo stroll about the Street Fair and I found a few treasures.  My son Cory and his girlfriend Niloufar also came down and walked around with me for a bit.  It was a nice day with incredibly pleasant weather  – which made the role of silent chauffeur much easier to swallow.

The girls seemed to have a good time.  This I surmised from all the chatter, smiles, and laughter.  As for me, I just smiled to myself and kept my mouth shut.  I also made a mental note that after 40 years, the memory of what it is to be 14 fades and mellows…but after that first 20 minutes in the car with the girls a whole new appreciation for what it is like being 14 emerged.  Perhaps there is something to this just listening stuff. ;-)

Day one thousand four hundred and seventy-three of the new forty – obla di obla da

Ms. C

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About Ms. C

I teach at NDSU...but I remain a student of life with all the enthusiasm that entails. My favorite saying is, "Sometimes you have to take the leap and build your wings on the way down." In the new forty that is what I am doing...building my wings.
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2 Responses to Don’t talk – just listen.

  1. B-dubya says:

    A lot of sparkle going on in that photo! It had to be a real blast just listening to them. :D

  2. tim haering says:

    I love to listen, for the cadence of dialogue, for slang I don’t know, for embrace of ignorance that I can bring up later to my son. But being spurned like a kid brother is a lesson in patience and humility. Gotta embrace that God-given test. Sure, it stinks, but you got this swell column out of it. It isn’t good Norwegian wood, but Strawberry Field are forever, Sgt . Pepper.

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