All Ears. No Listening.

A pile of partially-shucked ears of corn.

Being visually-impaired seems to have enabled me to hone a unique ability to hear. And listen.

The distance that I can hear things from is “so far away” (as typically described with wonder by the so-called normal).

They also seem amazed by the amount of information I can gather from listening in a meeting or to a conversation (yet all of that detail is really available to nearly anyone).

It’s just that the so-called normal seem to not use their ears.

Here are three recent situations I experienced. Each was a reminder that all too often those who have 100% hearing — or at least who appear to be — are 0% listening.

May I NOT Take Your Order?

The pick-your-salad-ingredients trend is a delicious convenience. Salad preparers await customers’ add-on choices before chopping, tossing and returning to a bowl that initially contained only lettuce. I approached the counter.

Salad preparer: What kind of lettuce?
Me: Mixed greens, please.

He reaches for a plastic bowl of mixed greens, removes the lid and dumps them into a metal bowl.

Salad preparer: What do you want on it?
Me: Care….(the first half of “carrots”)

Salad preparer: What else? (he reaches for the carrots)
Me: Gray…(the start of grape tomatoes)

Salad preparer: What next? (he puts the carrots on the lettuce)
Me: Brock…(the first syllable of broccoli)

Salad preparer: What next? (he reaches for the broccoli)
Me: Keen…(a verbal ‘quinoa’ kick off)

Salad preparer: What next? (he puts the broccoli on the lettuce)
Me: Wall…(the beginning of walnuts)

Salad preparer: What next? (he reaches for the walnuts)
Me: Cray…(the front end of craisins)

Salad preparer: What next? (he puts the walnuts on the lettuce)
Me: Um…..ALL of the ingredients I asked for?

A couple of minutes later, the missing grape tomatoes, quinoa and craisins were sorted out — he was convinced all had made it to their final destination.

Question asked and answered.
I really enjoy when my consulting clients are engaged and ask questions. Harry, an executive for a well-known company, asked a lot questions. I usually was able to get a few words out before he would talk over (or full-on interrupt), offering monologues that neither answered his own questions or were relevant to them. His staff shared that he was “working on” addressing the habit. We continued to meet, but I always send Harry a slide deck of key points to ensure he would know how my project was progressing.

And lastly,

Ring, ring. 
Ring, ring. 
Ring, Ring. 
Ring, Ring, 
RING, RING. 
RING. 
RING. 
RING
.

As I’ve mentioned in earlier Oh Fabled One posts, I love cycling. I’ve learned that crossing bridges can be tricky, especially when pedestrians and cyclists use the same path. Pedestrian groups often walk in a straight line, blocking the path entirely. A bike bell is a universal audio cue that a bike is approaching from behind — please move over. Some of my captains* have needed to ring the bike bell up to 10 times before the pedestrians heard it and moved over.

So give it a try, So-Called Normal!! Just listen a little more and watch what happens!

Thank you for reading this post on Oh Fabled One! If you like it, recommend it! Join the larger conversation by clicking “Follow”!

*Captain = person on the front seat of a tandem bike; Stoker = person on the back seat of a tandem bike.