When Cliffhangers Are A Bad Idea

I found myself incredulous on the phone the other day. Surely my husband must understand that one does not draw out a story in which the listener's child has suffered a dizzy spell, fainted and fallen.

But yes.  He did that.  He spoke slowly, in agonizing detail, not giving pertinent fact, but adding trivia and minutia.

Finally I could stand it no longer.  "IS SHE ALRIGHT?" I asked.

"Oh, yes," he said, sounding startled.  "Well, I mean, she's awake and the doctor is looking at her and doing some tests, but she seems to be okay."

I took a deep breath.  "When you tell a story like this, the first sentence is always "X is fine now, but such and such happened."  I paused, trying to control myself.  "Do you understand?"

"Yes," he said.  "I'm sorry, I should have done that."

The thing is that I honestly think part of the reason he drew it out is that it was a bit of excitement he got to report.  He leads a pretty dull life, all things considered, particularly compared to me.  So I couldn't entirely blame him for trying to keep my attention for a few minutes.  Heavens knows I was riveted to what he was saying.  I was terrified that my girl had a serious problem.  I was listening to each word he said. 

Many times, I tend to zone out when he speaks to me because he tells me stuff he's said before.  We've been together a very long time, and he uses the same jokes he did when we were dating.  He makes the same observations about things that he made in the eighties.  He has not adapted to the times, not picked up the lingo, and he's not terribly comfortable with technology.  I'm not super adept, but I am cognizant of a whole lot more than he is.

He frightened me with the way he told the story.  I thought he was leading up to something really bad, like our daughter was unconscious and they couldn't rouse her.  A million thoughts flash through your mind.  That is why you don't leave someone hanging, not for a second. 

Then again, he's left me hanging plenty of times.  There's been an uncertainty that's pervaded our lives for years now, a failure to reassure with any degree of honesty.  I want a stronger man, a man who seeks to protect my heart, a man who respects my need for truth spoken up front.

The flaws of his phone call serve as an epiphany moment.  The question is what I'll do about it.  That part is a cliffhanger for me, so forgive me if I don't provide any reassurance to you at this juncture.
milkynips milkynips
46-50, F
1 Response Dec 14, 2012

That would have irritated me, as well. In the Army, we're taught one very important point when briefing others: BLUF (Bottom Line Up Front). First, state what's most important, then give the details.
And as for you and love, well, that will come your way for sure. Good things happen to good people - like you! :)

BLUF, eh? I shall have to remember that one. It really is the best way to communicate when one isn't meandering as I do in my storytelling. :-)

I'm not convinced about the truth of good things/good people, given how many bad things happen to good people, and the absence of proof that I am a good person, but appreciate the good wishes very much!