Have you ever shouted this question? If you have a husband, boyfriend, son, father or male of any description in your life, chances are that you've shouted it a few times yourself. Whilst already knowing the answer to be no. And wait! Before you get all jumpy about my being sexist on the subject, I refer you to the book by Barabara and Allan Pease entitled, "Why Men Don't Listen and Women Can't Read Maps"
Let me elaborate. Josh and I work from home most of the time and, recently, I was making lunch while he fiddled with my piano keyboard and iPad. Yes, I have decided to explore the hidden depths of my musical prowess and learn the piano. You know, find out if my parents may have overlooked some glimmering musical genius in my childhood. My Sister had been kind enough to loan me my niece's old keyboard. The deal was, if I could show some kind of consistency in learning and practicing, then we could justify getting a proper keyboard with weighted keys etc., at some point in the future. He was trying to plug the keyboard into my iPad so I could use the piano lessons on Garageband. However, I had just discovered that the piano lessons weren't on the iPad version of Garageband. Yes, this is all relevant.
As I begin to take things out of the fridge, I ask him "Do you just want cheese and tomato, or do you want tuna on it?" No response, just continues tinkering. So I explained. "Darling, don't worry about it, I can't use it on the iPad anyway." No response.
'Patience, patience.' I chanted to myself as crickets chirped into the silence, once more. Again, "Josh!" My patience already snapping. "Don't worry about the bloody keyboard, I'm going to use it on my Macbook! Now! Do you want cheese and tomato or TUNA AS WELL?!" I almost shouted at him!
Silence, still . . . then finally, his head came up and he said, "Huh? What? No, no ham for me!"
What the?! Ae you kidding me? All I could do was laugh and ask him, "Are you serious?" Certain he was pulling my leg and trying to wind me up which is his second favourite sport behind Soccer (football for my English readers). He wasn't. I was astounded at the depths to which he could tune out my voice! To be fair, I'm probably as forgetful as he is deaf. I have conversations with him that he doesn't hear and he has conversations with me that I don't remember, so it all balances out in the end.
A couple of weeks later on a Friday night Josh was off playing his soccer when I was thinking to myself, with regret, how much I wished I'd asked him to pick up pizza on the way home. I really wasn't up for cooking, but my tummy was growling and demanding my attention. Some ten minutes later, in he walks carrying two pizza boxes. At first, I thought he was particularly hungry, then with utter optimism and hope I asked him, "Is one of those for me?"
"Yes darling, I rang you." He said
"Oh, really?" I answered casually diving for the pizza. "I didn't get the message."
Silence while he gave me a look of disbelief.
"Well, no. Because I spoke to you." he said his voice rising in incredulity
Uh-oh. I truly didn't remember speaking to him. I racked my brain, fully aware that my memory often let me down, but I really couldn't remember speaking to him. Surely my memory couldn't be that bad?
"When?" I asked
"Darling, I called you and said, - the usual ham and pineapple okay for your for dinner?" he explained.
To which I, apparently, replied "Yes."
I was really beginning to worry about my memory. Was this early onset Alzheimer's or what?
"But I didn't speak to you." I said giggling
"Yeah right" he said dismissively throwing his soccer kit on the floor, clearly thinking I was trying to bluff him (my laugh always gives me away when I try to lie).
I grabbed his face in my hands, looked him in the eye and said, "Darling, I swear on both of our lives that I did not speak to you on the phone." Finally believing me, he looked at me completely puzzled.
"What number did you call me on?" I asked
"The home number", he said already sliding his finger down the face of his phone.
"Yeah . . . but whose home number?" I asked laughing.
"Look!" he said triumphant showing me the phone screen. Silence while I looked at it.
"That's not our home number." I said inelegantly around a mouthful of pizza.
"But it says - Home" he stated in a small voice, half his attention already turning inward to the memory of our phantom phone call.
"It must be your old home number or something, maybe its been given to someone else?". I said swallowing the pizza that some other woman in Buderim was eagerly awaiting.
I laughed, "How spooky is that? I was so desperately wishing you'd pick up pizza and you did!"
We both laughed thinking of this mystery woman awaiting her husband bearing culinary gifts. "I'd love to hear their conversation." I said smiling then thought to say, "I'm surprised you didn't recognise it wasn't my voice, or that she didn't say something that gave it away."
So, how to get your conveniently deaf significant other to listen to you? Well you can't, really. All you can do is always assume that they're not listening, unless you get eye contact. I no longer call out questions or musings to Josh from another room (or even a foot away) unless I first get his attention, make sure he looks at me. Once I have full eye contact, I tell him whatever it is I need to tell him and, if necessary, ask him to repeat back what he just heard.