When I was in high school my mother and I often got into fights. One morning she began yelling at me because I had left one of my socks on the living room floor and I had’t picked it up. “You have walked over that sock. You have walked around that sock, and you haven’t PICKED IT UP.”
In an attempt to show her how mad I was at her yelling at me (even though I should have probably picked up the sock), I stomped up the stairs loudly and angrily, emphasizing each tread. STOMP, STOMP, STOMP.
From downstairs I heard my mother screaming, “AND WHO TOOK MY SCISSORS? EVERYONE TAKES MY SCISSORS AND THEY NEVER PUT THEM BACK!”
Filled with enough of her screaming, and coming straight from my gut, I responded very loudly in a kind of outraged gibberish and with plenty of emotion, “BLAH DEE BLAH DEE BLAH DEE BLAH!”
She yelled up the stairs, “I ALREADY LOOKED THERE AND THEY’RE NOT THERE!”
She stopped me in my tracks. It was then I first realized that my mother never really listened.
It’s only now that I realize what I really wanted her to hear.