First you have to understand that I am committed to Melinda’s wellbeing. I have declared it, and after her series of falls and injuries especially, I am committed to protecting her, which means being vigilant for when she is walking and not looking and talking on the phone.
Lots of interventions daily.
Let me hold that.
Here, I’ll grab it, you put that down first.
Hang on, let me get the door.
I’ll clear off the counter, but go ahead and keep chopping.
Can I put your purse in your office? (Almost tripped on it)
How about we move this charging cable to a different plug?
I can check the mail, you can just do your call.
I drove her to the Panthers Stadium for the Pride Event where NAWBO had a booth, and was swinging by to pick her up afterwards (I’d worked at the office for a change) outside the stadium.
As I approached I could see her reach inside her purse and answer a call, while continuing to walk across the wide open concrete concourse between the massive snarling black panther sculptures. I needed to stop and have her hop in quickly since this was a travel lane, but no one was coming.
But she slowed down, paused and began talking animatedly.
As she opened the door, I said, “stop talking for a minute, tell them to hang on.”
She gave me a sidelong glance and kept talking, “Oh thank you, yes I wanted to get back with you to confirm…”
TELL THEM TO HOLD ON!
STOP, DON’T GET IN. LOOK AT WHAT YOU ARE DOING.
HEY! PUT HER ON HOLD! TELL HER “JUST A SECOND!”
Melinda kept talking as though I were a passing truck.
Then said, “she could hear you yelling at me.”
You don’t have to yell at me.
But this is what we talked about, I thought, getting you to do one thing at a time, walk when you are walking, talk when you are talking, not stepping into traffic not paying attention. Yes, I was yelling. When you are trying to get someone’s attention who does not hear/listen to you, yelling is what there is to do, that or grab them by the arm.
It was a miracle that we had a civil conversation about it, and right away.
What am I supposed to do when you won’t pay attention to a direct warning?
When I yell, WATCH OUT!, and her response is, “don’t take that tone with me.”
And she has told me in advance to tell her to WATCH OUT if needed.
So the dilemma remains. How to support someone to be present, when they are not present, and they resent your intervention, even though they have requested it?
She even agreed (afterwards) that I was right.
So here’s the thing: It doesn’t matter that she should listen to me.
My method was ineffective. Correction in public does not work.
Any justification for my yelling is irrelevant.
End of story.
What is the right way? The right thing to do?
Refer to line 1.
What am I committed to? Melinda’s well-being. Don’t yell.