Skip to main content

Point of View: Well, Shut My Mouth!

Thu, 10/14/2021 - 09:29

So I haven’t been interrupting all these years after all, I’ve been “cooperatively overlapping,” according to a recent New York Times guest essayist.

“Well, shut my mouth!” I said to Mary. “At last, vindication. When I interrupt, as you say, it isn’t because I want to stifle discussion, it’s because, contrariwise, I want to extend it. I am cooperatively overlapping, or cooperatively overlipping, if you will.”

Actually, since I’ve had my hearing aids repaired — at great cost, by the way, though if they want to drop hearing aid coverage from the Medicare add-ons that’s okay with me as long as the reconciliation bill passes — I’ve been able to hear better than I ever have, so well, in fact, that she often wonders, should I not respond right away, whether I can hear her. Which brings me to another point: In all those years when I couldn’t hear with the acuity that I have now, how could I be seriously charged with interrupting? To do so, don’t you need an auricular springboard, as it were — you know, in order to dive in?

No, no, despite my protesting, I know that often in life I have derailed people’s trains of thought. I have wrecked havoc in that respect, as Mary would say. There have been times, I realize, when my tendency to cooperatively overlap should have been kept under wraps.

Still, I’d have to hand in my chattering class card were I to utterly reform. A vow of silence in my case would speak volumes, I imagine. I fancy it might even get so that people would be begging me to please, please interrupt.

Well, maybe not, maybe they’d stop short of that. Maybe they’d only ask that I cooperatively overlap. And, mindful of the golden mean as it relates to rapt attentiveness and rudely interrupting, I guess I could live with that.

Thank you for reading . . . 
...Your support for The East Hampton Star helps us deliver the news, arts, and community information you need. Whether you are an online subscriber, get the paper in the mail, delivered to your door in Manhattan, or are just passing through, every reader counts. We value you for being part of The Star family.

Your subscription to The Star does more than get you great arts, news, sports, and outdoors stories. It makes everything we do possible.