I notice things about the way people communicate with each other, or fail to do so. I try not to be too curmudgeonly about it, but I get irritated about half the time I order fast food, which I do a lot. More and more, people aren’t listening at all until you’re halfway through your first sentence. I’ll say, “Hi, I’d like a hamburger and –” “What?” I’m sorry, which part did you miss? Where did I lose you? This is a hamburger joint after all. What did you expect me to say?
I am pretty good at listening to two or three other people talk and figuring out why they are not communicating. It’s funny how often people will think they’re disagreeing when they really aren’t — it’s just that neither understands what the other one is saying. There is a conversational phenomenon which I have personally named “persistence of assumption,” and since I first labeled it, I have seen it happen time and time again. I haven’t seen it explicitly described anywhere, so I’ll outline it here. When I don’t feel so tired.