Wendy Knuth Author of Moore Zombies, blogging about the human experience.

Tag Archives: #flies

Human Fly Swatters

How are you when you are speaking on the telephone?  Are you hyper focused?  Can you listen to a side conversation? The reason I mention this is for as long as I have been with my husband, the old bald guy, his phone habit continues to intrigue me.  He has made it quite clear not to speak to him while he is talking on the phone.  He is intently engaged.  He mutes the television before answering or dialing a number.  If he hears any human voices he will turn around and glare at you with two evil eyes.  He even makes a swatting motion at you as if his arm were a fly swatter.

In this day of multitasking, I really don’t understand this.  My husband and I have been together long before the hectic world of computers and gadgets overtook us.  You might find it hard to believe that we did not even own a computer when we were married.  “Online” was not a word that we knew, and while we may have seen car phones in the movies, it was still a few years before we had our fist cell phone.

Anyhow, back to the topic at hand.  My feelings about this phone situation were that perhaps this was an older person thing, or maybe even a man thing.  So I was very surprised one day at work when I was orienting a new employee.  I did not like his scheduling system.  I showed him mine and told him about others.  We walked over to another employee so that I could show him the system she used, which was probably better than mine.  She was on the phone.  I saw her scheduling paper and started to explain her system to my trainee.  She turned and glared at me and gave me that same swatting motion.

Okay, so it’s not a man thing.  I honestly do understand the flip side.  Sometimes conversations are very important and you need to tune everything else out.  However, I also know that important information can come in while one is on the telephone.  Perhaps someone reminds you to not forget to ask about this or that, especially with some large bureaucracy where you have been on hold for thirty minutes.

My question is this:  Why is the fly swatter maneuver reserved only for people on the telephone?  Let’s say you are at a party or some other get together, and a group of people are speaking.  Often, conversation breaks off into subgroups.  Do you swat at people for holding separate conversations right next to you while you are engaged in conversation with others?  Fellow movie goers often glare at others for talking during the film, but have you ever seen the fly swatter come into action?  If you or others are rudely interrupted, do you move your arm at them in a quick, downward motion?

I hope many of you get a good chuckle out of this.  Maybe this reminds you of a friend or family member, or even yourself.  Can you accept verbal input while you are on the phone, or are you a human fly swatter?