Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Webster’s definition of circumlocution
Circumlocution: a roundabout, indirect, or lengthy way of expressing something.

My mother in law is 86 years old. The large number of years has allowed her to master the fine art of circumlocution. She visited here Sunday while our daughter and our grandson were in town. She wandered around the house a bit then apparently noticed that I needed someone to listen to. She told me she stopped at the bank on her way over, but forgot that it was Sunday and so it did her no good at all since the bank was closed.
I asked her if her bank provides her a debit card and ATM card. This was her answer.

Mom-In-Law: “My neighbor Rita across the street is 92 years old and sometimes her daughter comes to take her to the bank. Now, her daughter understand is 70 herself and she can’t drive at night because of her glaucoma. Anyway, she and her husband only have one car because they don’t really need to go anywhere. I think it's a Buick. No, wait maybe its a Ford, oh shoot I cant remember. Anyway, sometimes they go to WalMart but she told me she really likes Target better anyway because of the prices. The only thing about Target is that it is so far to walk from the parking lot. I don't go to the one near me, there's one over by, oh what's the name of that street? You know the one I mean, by the coffee store that sells that Star-something coffee? Anyway, back when Leonard’s was downtown you could take the trolley and it would take you right up to the door and you didn’t have to walk at all. Nowadays it seems like everybody has a big parking lot and the stores like Target are so big I get tired before I even find what I want. Anyway, she said her husband won’t go into Target because the lights make him dizzy, but the lights in WalMart are different and so it doesn’t bother him in there as much.
Most of the time when they come to get Rita they will come over and say hello to me. One time she brought me a bundt cake that had these big pecans in it. I can’t really eat pecans because of my dentures but I didn’t tell her that, I just took a piece and told her I would eat it later. I don’t really understand why someone would leave big old nuts like that in a bundt cake anyway. I don’t think Rita cooks much either so maybe she just never taught her how.”

Me: What about the ATM card?

Mom-In-Law: “That’s why I was telling you about Target. They have those machines there that I see people putting a card in and I don’t really understand it. Rita said they don’t make mistakes. But, I remember when typewriters first came in and some of the manufacturers put the keys in different places from the other people so you never really knew if you were typing a ‘s’ or an ‘a’ unless you looked at the paper. After a while you got used to your typewriter and you didn’t have to look up, but then they would get you a new typewriter and it would be the other way around and you had to relearn it all over again. It took them some years to decide to make the typewriters the same. Anyway, it just seems like all new things have to have the problems sorted out with them. After all airplanes still crash and they have been around a long time. I still remember visiting Meacham Airport when it opened and that was 80 years ago. Daddy took us out there and I remember sitting on his shoulders so I could see. He was tall. My boys were tall like him, but now Brown Eyed-Girl isn’t tall like that. Anyway the airplanes were some of the type that only hauled cargo and the US Mail. A lot of times the planes had to stop for maintenance somewhere and the mail never got to the place it was supposed to go. Anyway, I don’t want any of those cards, I don’t trust them.”

Me: I see.


patti_cake said...

OMG Rick, that is ME... in 46 years! Scary!

Okay I had to snicker but I bet she's a sweet old thing.

Jenn said...

I think this is one of my favorite posts ever.

My mother was born doing this...I sometimes have to practice deep-chest breathing to get through a conversation without shouting "WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT!!??" My grandmother is even worse...but it's fun to listen to sometimes.

~gkw said...

I'm trying to decide if that was YOUR Mother-in-law or MINE....

Rick said...

The middle-aged wife is already there. And she wonders why I "tune out" from time to time. I'm just waiting for the bottom line.

Anonymous said...

My partner is a bit like that.

I often find myself thinking about Peppermint Patty in the Peanuts cartoons when the teacher is talking and all you hear is "waw waw waw waw, waw waw."

I'll tell you a secret, though. I think I talk the same way sometimes.


Anonymous said...

I don't want to get old.

this scares me.

Seven said...

Please warn Stacy.

I find that it feels as if my head might explode. If I drift off I really won't have any idea where she is in the process (and I have been caught before) if I listen I fear my brain might literally blow to bits.

We are related? hehe

Yes, sort of scary but beg does a mini version of this, and yes sometimes I go elsewhere when she is on her way to somewhere, and I usually get caught.

Yes and have you seen the Volvo commercial where the really cute little girl is telling her Dad a story? Maybe its just a feminine thing?

Silent Girl,
Go forward without fear, we have no options.

Rob said...

7, I think it's called framing the moment. My spouse does a lot of framing because the object of the moment is often less interesting than the frame, in her mind. Of course, we males have to realize the female brain has a large corpus colesium, you know the connection between the halves of the brain, and it can get quite leaking at times and a lot of other stuff slips through and can't find its way back. So, where was I?

Seven said...

haha... I don't know I quit reading, hehehehe.... good stuff. Sometimes I wish I had a large corpus colesium, as in "You want it biggy sized?" Maybe I could hang in there that way.

Rob said...

ahh, it's corpus callosum, sorry about that. You see I have this leaky connecting tissue...

Rob, again said...

7, maybe that's why your blog is named so... and you knew it all along, but didn't remember how you knew it. press on with dignity.

Reach said...

My aging family members are going through the same thing- I find my selective hearing is improving. To prove this point, I know she was speaking of an airport, Meacham Airport to be exact, with cargo and postal flights.

I hope this selective hearing will learn other catch-phrases.


Seven said...

Yea, I try that too. And honestly, sometimes I just completely lose my place.