I'm Absolutely Listening Right Now

Previously: Doing Something You Dislike? Have You Tried Paying Less Attention?

Okay. Okay! You are talking, that’s definitive, and I am listening right now. I am! I care about you so much, or maybe I fear and respect you, or who knows but both, but the point is that I want to listen, all the way. My goal is listening, and that starts nowabouts.

Mm! I thought I was listening, but it’s gone now. That must not have been listening, what was happening before. I’m going to listen now. This is important! You’re saying important things, with real consequences, and if I weren’t listening, it would mean all sorts of trouble for me and the people I love. That’s why I’m fashioning all the attention I have into a small, taut, golden ball and placing it in the middle of my chest, and pointing it directly at you. My attention-ball will absorb all your information-dropules and flood my being with Knowing afterwards, and you’ll be so proud of me, for how I listened.

Right now I’m sending little armies of Pay Attention up and down my cardiovascular system. They’re tucking themselves into lung-lobes and finger-capillaries, and all the cila I’ve got are waving softly in the direction of Yes I’m Here. Yes, I’m here! I want to be here so much, but I’m a sea anemone that got sluicked off a rock and shot backwards, salt-quick, into ocean depths. Do you have a rock I can root myself onto? Do you have a rock I can hold? The heaviness will remind me of listening. What I need are 15 anti-balloons, 15 little dark rocks I can line my trousers and hat with, to weigh me earthward until listening’s everything. Do you have a big big lofted cloud that can sit over my head? Listening keeps evaporating off of my skin and I need to keep myself wet with thought.

Do you mind putting some anchors or heavy skates on your words so they stick? Right now they just tap me on the forehead and then ricochet off the surface, but I want to keep them in the deepest caverns of Heeding. Can you make them caveworms? I’m listening now, I’m all listening, but the listening run away and turned into a tree, rather than marry fickle-hearted Phoebus. Do you have a sluicegate for thoughts? Sorry to interrupt, but do you have a sluicegate I can borrow, or a dam for a minnow-pond, or a lock so I can Bluebeard my wife-thoughts?

What if I give you my thoughts and you can write down whatever you need me to remember on them before you give them back? My brain is fresh and full of folds and nobules, you can write whatever on it. I’m listening, but listening is a clean slick rock face and I left my crampons on the last icefall. Are you a mountain guide? Is it safe to descend, or should I wait for the belay-runners? How can you tell if you have hypothermia? I don’t feel cold, but then I wouldn’t, would I?

I’ve been listening this whole time — I’ve been listening so hard all my teeth popped out. Can you help me pick them up? Then I can go back to listening, I swear. I love you so much, and I want to hear everything. Sorry, what was that last part? And all the other parts? Can you just let me know when the tapestry’s finished and I can look at everything all at once? You can use my teeth to cut the strings, if you need to. I’m doing it, I’m doing it, I’m doing it now. I’m doing it again now. I’m starting a new listening, and I’m starting now, and if you could just put us both under a diving-bell I’m sure I’d hear everything this time.