Thursday, August 19, 2010

Nonstop Babbling

I'm away on vacation, and visiting my parents for a while. Yes, that means making the long drive from my home in deep rural America, to my folks' house in the city. It also means going from the near-silence of my daily routine to the incessant, endless, continual noise front which prevails whenever I'm around my parents.

Don't get me wrong. I love my folks. But one of the trials of being around them is enduring my mother's nonstop babbling. My mother talks. She talks all the time. She never stops talking. By this I don't just mean she talks a lot. By this I mean she talks nonstop from the time she gets up in the morning till the time she goes to bed at night. Always talking, scarcely pausing for breath. The only things that shut her up (for a little while) in the daytime are chewing food, taking a nap, or being in the presence of some alternative noise source such as radio or TV. With those exceptions, she literally never stops talking all day long for more than 10 seconds at a time. Literally.

I love my mother dearly, but after a few days of her constant babbling I find I'm going up the wall. In my usual life at home, I can go all day in a near unbroken state of silence-- never a noise intrudes, unless perhaps a pickup goes rattling by down the gravel road which runs past my place. To go from that to a setting where there is never more than 10 seconds of unbroken silence (and not even 10 seconds very often) is like taking a flying leap into a pool of ice cold water.

My mom has always been talkative, but only over the past 15 years or so has her talking become truly wall-to-wall. Doesn't matter if she has anything to say. Doesn't matter if anyone is listening. Doesn't even matter if there's anyone else in the room with her. If nothing else, she will keep up never-a-pause-for-breath color commentary on every detail of whatever household task is occupying her at the moment.

I really don't know. It makes me wonder if it's due to changes that may overtake the human brain as a person ages. I've known a few people like this in my time-- a few nonstop talkers, literally nonstop-- and it always makes me wonder.


Anonymous said...

I feel for you and know EXACTLY what you mean!

Anonymous said...

My mother relocated from CA to NC to be closer to family. I went to the pharmacy with her and within two minutes, she had 5 or 6 people fussing over her, all the while talking non-stop. There seems to be no filtering--just every freaking thought in her head comes out of her mouth! When she went to pay her prescription, she opened up her organizer displaying all of her credit cards to anyone who happened to look. She paid her bill and within a couple of minute managed to "lose" her bank card and her sunglasses (dropped outside). She asked the young man if he still had it. The manager came out and engaged her and was helpful. Well, she had tucked her card behind another card but at that point had several people looking everywhere and feeling a bit embarassed/guilty! She seemed to love the attention and all the dialogue. She looked to me irresponsible and a perfect target for someone. My question is what happens to a person's sense of dignity at this age? Their sense of control? I'm not judging here. I mean, what happens?