When the OH and I were both gainfully employed full-time we saw far less of each other in the course of 24 hours.
So we talked less to each other. And we seemed to annoy each other less.
We clearly have a problem – but I’m beginning to think it’s less about character and more about communication. More specifically, about hearing.
Take this recent exchange for example.
Me: Your phone pinged.
Him (looking a little insulted): You’re a penguin?
The OH insists I mumble. That I need to speak more clearly. That I DO NOT NEED TO SHOUT.
The other evening he came back from the pub where he had been having a pint with two of his mates. One of them has recently had very expensive hearing aids fitted because he has suddenly and inexplicably become very deaf. There seemed to have been a fair bit of discussion about wives and being able to hear them (or not).
Apparently, the OH said triumphantly, we ALL lose the ability to detect really high-pitched sounds as we get older – so the problem was not husbands getting deafer, but wives speaking in high-pitched voices. And clearly the answer was for me to speak more like Mrs Thatcher. And not to speak to him when he was in another room. Or with my back to him.
Today the OH thrust a newspaper under my nose.
‘This is what you’ve got,’ he said.
I skimmed the article which said that scientists had demonstrated that inattentional deafness is a genuine phenomenon. This explains why a person can be so absorbed in a book or a crossword they become deaf to normally audible sound.
The OH looked triumphant. I think he said something but unfortunately I was concentrating, so I didn’t hear him.