I tend to repeat myself. I reiterate, restate, retell and really am annoying. It’s as though I’m a syndicated TV show, repeating opinions, requests, and reminders as often as Seinfeld’s Puffy Shirt episode. As my parents might have said, I sound like a broken record.
I’m a versatile repeater, with a range that spans a variety of subjects: business (“Don’t forget to call the bank”), personal (“I should exercise”), and home (“We need milk”). I can voice the same thought for several hours or several years, depending on the subject and person being subjected. If it’s an upcoming to-do for my husband, the repeats cover a few hours. If it’s an ongoing gripe about my limp hair, it can air long past Puffy Shirt and go where no man has gone before -- Star Trek magnitude.
My longest running show currently in syndication: “I. Hate. Vacuuming.” I hate it so much that last year I added the following programs to my fall hatefest line-up: a pre-vacuuming show and an intermission in which I send the three-word email to my husband between vacuuming the main and upper levels of my home.
Right in the middle of the pre-vacuuming show the other night, my husband decided he had enough. Evidently he never wanted to hear that episode again.
Me: “I’ll be vacuuming tomorrow.”
Me: “Hear that? I have to vacuum. And I hate vacuuming. Do you have any idea how much I hate vacuuming?”
Husband: “Guess what? I DO know! Jean hates vacuuming. Got it. Check. Roger. Good news: you never have to tell me again. You know why? Because I officially announce that I am fully aware that Jean Sorensen hates vacuuming.”
Me: “Gee, you don’t have to repeat yourself.”
My friend, Linda, is also an avid repeater. When I asked if her husband ever had enough, she said, “When I make the same comments over and over again, he quickly draws his finger against his throat or zips his lip.” I can relate, because I often get the shush sign. Miming is a common, futile attempt to stop a repeater. Linda continued, “Then he says, ‘STOP, NOW. I let you go on and on the first five times, but NO MORE!’”
I thought it was interesting that his limit was only five repeats. I don’t mean to brag, but I’ve reached seven digits, as in, “I heard you the first million times!”
Those reactions may hinder the amateur repeater, but Linda and I are seasoned professionals. We persevere, no matter how poorly our repeats do in the ratings or how expertly the listener is at miming. Although my repertoire includes a mix of nags and peeves, Linda concentrates on gripes. Her favorite repeats include roundabouts, cooking, getting up at 5:20 a.m., Alex Rodriguez, wasps in her house (“Why can't we ever find the X@$%! nest?!”), having someone sit directly in front of her just before a movie begins (“I don't stop complaining until I'm in bed that night”), and waiting in line at a store during her lunch break (“Why do all the cashiers take breaks during the busiest time of the day?”).
I think one of the reasons Linda and I have remained close friends for twenty years is because we never run out of things to talk about. Because we repeat ourselves. Did I mention that? By the way, I hate vacuuming.