Saturday, September 10, 2011

Can You Hear Me Now?

hear·ing [heer-ing]
1. the faculty or sense by which sound is perceived.
2. the act of perceiving sound.

lis·ten   [lis-uhn]
verb (used without object)
1. to give attention with the ear; attend closely for the purpose of hearing; give ear.
2. to pay attention; heed; obey (often followed by to ): Children don't always listen to their parents.

Recently, I needed to find out how much I owed on our water bill so I could set up my web bill pay so I called our city municipal office and I asked the lady who answered the phone that I needed to know the amount I owed for that month. She asked me my account number and I gave it to her. "Ma'am, you're calling the City of Boerne." she sweetly replied. "I know and I just need to know how much our bill is so I can set up my payment to be sent in on time." I told her. Once again her sweet voice said, "Ma'am, you're calling the City of Boerne." I know that I made one of my "Seriously??" faces even though she couldn't see me. She had already told me this and I heard her clearly the first time. I tried explaining it another way by saying, "I normally drop my payment off but I'm setting up my web bill pay and now I'm going to have the bank send it. I forgot what it is every month so I need to find that out so I can get my payment in on time." Again, she repeated for the third time, "Ma'am, you're calling the City of Boerne."

Now, I was getting kind of annoyed. Was the sweet voice on the other line really just a parrot that they trained to only repeat one sentence and not a real, live person? I grew even more annoyed and I said, "My name is Holly Kallemyn. I live at ___street address___. I pay you every month and my checks are being deposited by someone because they are clearing my account. I can look at my past bank statments but I lost the bill you send in the mail and I just need to know the amount." Hopefully, I thought, she'll give me the amount I owe and I can get on with my day. This time the sweet voice started out the same with, "Ma'am" but she must've been a real live person because she said something other than "You're calling the City of Boerne. "Ma'am, you are outside of the Boerne City Limits. You need to call Kendall County Utility and their numbers is ___________." Yeah, I immedietly felt like the biggest idiot and I quickly hung up the phone. And, the best part was I had given her my name and address. She now knows who this idiot is on the other end of the line was. Great.

Has this ever happened to you? Not the above scenario per say; I'm assuming you all KNOW who you pay every month and where you live. ;) But, when you are hearing what someone is saying but you aren't really listening? I struggle with this a lot. I blame it on my self-diagnosed ADD most of the time but I find myself in this situations more often then not. Sad, I know. But, I leave conversations and think, "what did they say?" or "what did they mean when they said ______?" I didn't listen or ask the right questions. It's easy to be so busy with whatever it is that is consuming your own thoughts to not really listen to people clearly which can cause more trouble than it's worth at times. You could've just focused on another person for 10 or 15 minutes, or a mere couple of minutes, instead of hearing your own thoughts. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not always in my own la-la land and ignoring you or the people I talk to all the time but I think this is something everyone struggles with; REALLY hearing,  REALLY listening to people.

There are people in our lives who really just want to be heard. Was it The Great Oprah (ha-ha) who said, "Everyone just wants to be heard." But, she is right on that one. Everyone just wants someone to listen to them. This is something I'm really working on. Stopping whatever it is I have in my own life to focus on the people who I love and cherish. Or, anyone, even strangers. What things do you struggle with everyday? Hopefully, I am not the only one who has found themself in a similar situation such as this. What am I missing everyday by only focusing on myself and my own problems, projects, or events? And, please. The next time you see me don't think I'm not listening to you. :) This was just one funny example that made me think how often we all communicate but we might miss something VERY important along the way.

Are you listening?
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