Friday, April 27, 2012

I have a special super power.

Some people might label it “poor communcation.”  Others won’t acknowledge that it happens.  A few others might even call it sexism.  Since my husband and I see the world through the lens of super heroes and Jedi, I prefer to think of it as a super power.  We recently realized that I have the amazing ability to throw my voice, so that only one of the two other people in the conversation actually hears what I said.  It could be that I didn’t talk loud enough, or didn’t wait for a break in the conversation.  I would have chosen that explanation, as well, initially, but it didn’t happen only once – and the other people around seem to hear me just fine.  I’ve been using this special power most of my life, but I’ve stepped it up lately, it seems.

First it was the wonderful, elderly man who sold us the farm.  Several times, he was explaining some piece of machinery, or one of the mechanical systems on the house to us, and I would follow up with a question.  He’d hesitate briefly to look at me, then continue on with his explanation as if I hadn’t said anything.  My husband and I brushed it off, telling each other that at 90-plus, the apparent lack of regard for my question might have actually been due to hearing impairment.  Usually my husband would find a way to work my questions into his dialog with the gentleman, so at least we still were able to gather the information.  Because he was so gracious, kind, and helpful to us, I felt bad for using my super power on him, but I figured a person of his generation probably didn’t expect a person of my gender to be asking questions about mechanicals anyway, so he probably wasn’t that upset that I had made my voice inaudible to him; probably no need for me to apologize.

Once the old 9N tractor failed on us, I started using my super power indiscriminately.  The salesperson at the Kubota dealership was showing us a sub-compact with a 3-point hitch.  Although it had the 3-point, the machine looked too small to handle the pasture we need it for, so when he took a breath in his sales pitch, I asked whether that machine was powerful enough to run our 60” brush hog.  He looked at me just like the old man had and kept on talking, just like the old man had; but he was not an old man, he was our age!  I waited patiently through another few minutes of sales before finding another break to repeat my question.  This time, I spoke louder and slower, but got the exact same results.  It was so obvious that my husband glanced over at me uneasily, and we both laughed a little.  He didn’t pick up on our frustration and went on talking to my husband.  Finally, my husband interrupted him to say, “Hey, did you have a question?”  Apparently his intervention was Kryptonite to my super power, because the salesman finally heard me, and replied that, no, we would need to purchase a smaller brush hog.  Was he avoiding the no sale or did he actually not hear my question?  Was it because I was female, or because I was invoking my amazing Jedi mind tricks?  It’s not like I was asking what color it comes in, or whether it has a make-up mirror.

The new tractor delivery.
The same thing happened at the Case dealership, when I wanted to know how moving up a model size affected the price of the machine.  Then it happened again in our driveway when I suggested we move the trailer to the disabled tractor, instead of freewheeling the disabled tractor (that has no breaks!) down a hill to get it to the trailer.  When the tractor guy told us his seemingly life-threatening plan, I outlined my own suggestion for getting the tractor on the trailer.  He gave me the old man look, and then he repeated my plan back to us, as if he was suggesting it for the first time.

It may not be a complete coincidence that we made our purchase, not from a salesperson at all, but from a mechanic who came out of the garage and never once fell victim to my super power.  He patiently answered both of our questions; he showed us all the levers; he never took my husband aside to tell him to keep me away from the farm machinery.

I’m blessed by a husband who does hear my voice and show regard for my thoughts, ideas, input, and questions.  Being valued by the most important person in my life gives me the patience to stay gracious and laugh it off when my amazing Jedi abilities complicated communication elsewhere.  He even lets me drive the tractor.

They have ears, but cannot hear Psalm 115:6

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