Mrs. Greatsby is in the last lap of completing her master’s degree. After three years of hard work and not paying enough attention to me, she’s only a month a way from completing her thesis and fulfilling my dream of her paying more attention to me.
I was pretty satisfied with the amount of attention I was getting before she started this program, so when she told me she wanted to spend twenty hours a week learning a bunch of library science in an age when nobody will read anything longer than 140 characters, I failed to understand how additional education would in any way improve the amount of time she would spend giving me compliments.
I asked her the following questions:
Was she suggesting the additional education might improve the quality of her compliments?
Would the time spent paying attention to me feel more meaningful because I was winning the attention of someone with a graduate degree instead of a mere bachelor’s degree?
If her earnings improved, would she spend the extra salary on trophies or badges to accompany the compliments?
None of these questions were answered to my satisfaction. Actually, they weren’t answered at all because she’d already stopped paying attention to me by the time I got to question three.
I don’t want all of her attention because there’s a lot I get away with. For example, I hid a dress of hers that I hated but I didn’t want to say anything and open the door to her saying what she really thinks about my wearing a smoking jacket with no pants while answering the door. Her dress has been hidden under my robot for a year and I still don’t think she’s noticed it’s gone.
I could do with about 25% of her after-work attention. I feel I’ve been getting about 20%, but I know she spends part of that 20% wishing I were the Spanish actor who played Karl in Love Actually, so I realize she’s giving me 10% of her conscious, not-wishing-I-were-Spanish, after-work thought at best.
I’ll measure success at achieving 25% if the following conditions are met:
No more forgetting my name when introducing me at parties.
If I’m telling a funny story, I expect her sympathy laugh to come at the end of the story. I’m sick and tired of saying “Honey, I’ve got to tell you a funny story” and then she responds with an immediate sympathy laugh without ever looking up from her textbooks.
No more forgetting my face when looking for me at parties.