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.
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