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Party Line Chatter Leaves Prattlers Pooped

Sometimes, I feel like I'm talking on a party line whenever I try to have a conversation with one of my family members. For those of you young whipper-snappers who may not be familiar with this telephone feature: if you had a "party line," this meant that others who shared your line could hear whatever you were talking about on the phone if they picked up their receiver. It had nothing to do with those scantily-clad young ladies you see on late night ads telling you to call a 900 number so you could be part of a "party."

Trying to have a conversation on a party line could be pretty confusing if someone picked up their phone, heard just a small portion your discussion, then decided to chime in.

Max: "Charlene, I'm calling to see if you'd like to go with me to the Dairy Queen next Saturday night, and then maybe to a drive-in movie."

Betty: "This isn't Charlene; this is Betty, and I've got to use this line to call over to my cousin's house to see if my husband is there playing cards. But while I've got you on the phone, why would you want to go see a movie? All the movies that are playing now are vile and full of naked people."

Charlene: "Max, did you say you wanted to take me out to see a movie with naked people in it? I don't know what kind of girl you think I am, but I'm not going to see any movie with naked people!"

That's more or less how conversations go in my house. I'm trying to converse with one person, then another person walks in, hears a portion of what's being said, and starts off on this whole weird tangent.

Here's an example:

"I bought a Nook," I announced excitedly to my daughter the other day.

"What's a Nook?" my daughter asked. As I was explaining to my daughter my cool new reading device, how it was color, had the capability of downloading apps and magazines as well as books, my mom, walked in the door for a visit.

"You bought a nuke?" my mom asked.

"How can you by a nuclear warhead? Aren't they really expensive?" asked my son, obviously worried that I had gotten my hands on a weapon of mass destruction and just may do what I've been threatening to do for a while now - blow all the Lego parts I keep stepping on (those things are hard on bare feet!) off the face of the earth.

Unless everybody is in the same room from start to finish of a conversation around my house, even the most mundane chat can leave me pulling out my hair.

Me: "How was your day today?"

Son: "It was terrible because Johnny's cat died and he was really sad."

Daughter No. 1, who just walked in: "WHAT? Our cat died?! No, no. no, (cry, sniffle)"

Me: "No, honey. Our cats are just fine. Johnny's cat died."

Daughter No. 2, who just walked in: "WHAT? Johnny's Dad died? Oh, no! (cry, sniffle)"

Whoever said "Silence is Golden" really knew what he/she was talking about.

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