Economy of Speaking

1 08 2011

I love to write, but talking just seems like a chore to me.   I feel like I have a specific amount of words to use during the day and I hate wasting them.  It’s probably because I’m lazy, but I’d like to think it is an abhorrence of inefficiency.  What it comes down to is that speaking more than I need to is just plain annoying.  I’ve collected a series of case studies to explain my point.

Bless You My Child

I sneeze a lot. Some people hate to sneeze (or hate it when I sneeze), but I enjoy it. I’ve noticed that the louder I sneeze the more enjoyable it is. Ok, I’m weird. Anyway, in polite society if someone sneezes, a lady or gentleman will say “bless you” or something similar. This requires a response usually in the form of “thank you”. It’s as if the person blessing you has done some great favor for you. I look at it differently. Not only has the person blessing me wasted words, they have obligated me to say something polite in return. My solution is to just ignore the scores of “bless yous” I receive throughout the day. I’m not just being rude, I’m also being efficient.

Potty Mouth

A lot of the time, letting someone know that there is an urgent pressure on the inside wall of your bladder falls into the category of too much information. However, this topic does come up from time to time in family life. It bugs me that there is no efficient way to express this. Other bodily functions are easily expressed; take, for example, hunger.

You could describe the discomfort caused by the absence of food in your stomach in this way: “I’m hungry”.

You could describe the feeling of being overfull in your stomach this way: “I’m full” (or you could use the more descriptive word I invented: “I’m surfeity”).

But how would you efficiently describe the feeling of needing to relieve your bladder?

You could say: “I need to use the bathroom” (200% more words than I’m hungry).

Or you could say: “I’m going to pee my pants” (also 200% more, but at the same time more descriptive).

All I want is one word to describe the feeling – that’s all I’m asking.

Bargle Nawdle Zouss

I’ve found a common problem with people I know.  They fail to enunciate to my level of listening comprehension and then when I ask them to repeat what they said, they only repeat the part that I already heard clearly.  This makes it so I have to expend the energy to ask them to repeat only the portion I didn’t hear.  For example:

Friend-“Hey do you want to meet me at the park so we can play volleyball?”

I hear-“Hey do you want to meet me at the park so we can bargle nawdle zouss?”

So I say-“What?”

Friend-“Do you want to meet me at the park?”

I say-“Yeah, I heard that part.  What did you want to do at the park?”

I guess I could save overall words by saying “repeat that last part” instead of “what” (or a huh?) since this always happens, but I’m optimistic that I can achieve optimization.

Holding It

I’m all for expending a small amount of energy in order to save someone else a larger amount of energy.  For example, when someone is walking behind me and I open a door to go through, I find it efficient to spend a little extra energy to hold the door for them just enough so they don’t have to expend the energy to open it.  I’m already there, why not.

However, I do find it annoying when people take it to the extreme and hold the door for me when I am still a dozen yards away.  This is why:

1) It is taking more time and energy for them to stand there and hold it for me than it would take for me to just open the door myself.

2) I am now obligated to walk faster to the door so as not to be rude and leave them standing there for any longer than is necessary.  This requires additional energy.

3) I am also obligated to thank the person for being inefficient and pressuring me to walk faster.

I have no problem thanking a person for doing an actual service for me, I do have a problem when I have to thank someone for creating entropy unnecessarily and hastening the heat death of the universe.

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2 responses

1 08 2011
Colleen

Wow. I never looked at it that way! I’m coming from the opposite side. I talk way too much! Thanks to opening my eyes to a different way to communicate.

1 08 2011
David Montgomery

My favorite part “I’m not just being rude, I’m being efficient as well.” I GOL’d at my desk.

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