Saturday, February 4, 2017
Too Deaf for Small Talk
The other week, we went to this church community dinner. It is a charity dinner. They made us grilled cheese and some decent chili. The people are nice and polite. We had a hard month from having to do a car repair and while the bills grow larger none of the money does, one of my husband's contract employers had said "Happy Holidays", oh your pay this month will be cut by two-thirds". I suppose the bosses needed more money for ski vacations or something. Selling a few things definitely helped me get through through last month. I am going to try and make and sell more art work.
My husband even sold something for 12.99 on ebay last night. Well it's gas money. Somehow we did manage to pay all the monthly bills except a few medical ones I made phone calls on.
I've noticed when I go to these dinners or food pantries, these middle class and above women who are always at least 15 years older then me always at least 60 but usually on the higher end of that scale, approach me to make "small talk". It happened at one food pantry and now it happened again. It is hard, what do I talk to them about? I have nothing in common. If the room is crowded and busy, I can't hear them and get only every third word so that makes things even worse.
They talk about the weather in extensive detail, and their families. I am always so nervous, sometimes I wish they did not approach me to talk to me. Before we went, I told my husband, "I hope no one tries to talk to me." He wasn't surprised knowing how I feel.
There's times I have blanked out. A lot of them remind me of my mother, comfortably middle class and above and with the slight tinge of judgment. I don't think I am imagining it. Last night, we talked about impending negative weather forecasts, snow, the blizzards of 1978 and I was asked "So where are you from?" Sometimes I answer this correctly and just give the name of my old small rural town which I really only lived in for 8 years, but I kind of stammered, "Too many places,"
Something about these women makes me nervous. I hate small talk.
Most of the time when you are meeting others there's other talk in the room, you aren't getting clear one on one conversations. I was at a disability meeting too, and realized at I could not hear half of the words of the disability advocate who was across the room. I'm far more comfortable there since that is a meeting for the disabled. I did turn up my hearing aids and the disability rights movie we were watching, had closed captioning. Sometimes I fake hearing people, you can only say "What?" so many times and try to use the few words I can hear to figure out what they are talking about but it is limited and there is a reason more people think I am slow or not that "interesting".
I need someone to talk to about this as it is worsening. I also am going to try to get a Closed Captioning phone but have to talk to an audiologist in March about this issue. I can't hear a lot of voices on the phone now. I also have to discuss how I can't hear anyone in crowded rooms or if I am too far away. Without the hearing aids, one on one conversation would be gone. My hearing has declined to the point where I have to have the hearing aids in to even hear my husband, at home, unless he is right next to me.
But hearing issues, aside when the conversations are over, I always feel like I said nothing but the wrong thing. Small talk bores the stuffing out of me. It is hard. What do I talk about? I either go "too deep" or "go silent". I think my poor hearing is affecting me socially more then I ever thought about.
Why Do Aspies Hate Small Talk