Monday, April 29, 2013

The Dangers of Yell-telling

It has taken a very long time, but I am officially facing the fact that I have an embarrassing chronic condition that affects my life and the people around me. 

I have a million stories!
And they are all equally LOUD.
I am too damn loud when I tell a story.

When I was a kid, I used to sit at the dinner table and tell what I believed were hilarious/fascinating stories from my day at school that required much gesturing and flailing around.  My father would wince and calmly say, in a deliberately low voice, “We’re right here.  Can you tone it down?”  Anyone in my Bunko group has witnessed this phenomenon repeatedly, usually when I have accidentally hit someone or spilled wine, although there are a couple other yellers, which doesn’t make me any quieter. 

Any kind of a negative reaction to my tail-wagging loud story-telling triggers my other wretched affliction about which I have regularly blogged or shared directly to your face or on the phone or in the street to a stranger.

I am hopelessly oversensitive.

The combination of the way I like to yell a story and my big fat easily hurt feelings has yielded many unfortunate circumstances.

  1. Shame.  Receiving an “N” for “needs improvement” on all grade school report cards in any category relating to self control, behavior or generally keeping my yap shut. 
  2. Getting shushed.  I have a dear friend who regularly shushes me at parties.  In small groups, if she is sitting near me, she touches my hand or my leg under the table which is code for, “You are interrupting again.  Why are you so loud?  For the love of God, shut up and let someone else talk.”  Once we were drinking wine on my friend Lauri’s deck and I was telling an admittedly inappropriate story.  I was enjoying the crap out of telling the story and hollering the funnier parts.

    SHHHHHH!!!!” my friend hissed at me from across the table, “The whole neighborhood does NOT need to hear about that.”  The funny thing was, I’d mentioned to Lauri about 15 minutes before the shushing that our friend always shushes me.  I glared at Lauri and mentally texted her, “SEE??!!” Lauri made a sympathetic face that did not disguise the fact that she enjoyed the entire exchange.  I sulked like a big baby for the rest of the evening and eventually had to go into the kitchen to cry because I probably had too much wine.  Another friend followed me into the kitchen to witness my humiliation.  The memory of this whole episode gives me a stomachache.  Wine clearly exacerbates both of my conditions.
  3. Panic. I’ve seen certain family members’ faces begin to change when trapped by my stories at a party, eyes darting around for an escape.
  4. Official complaints. Joe and I recently went out with two other couples for a birthday dinner at a fabulous restaurant called Ad-lib Geocafe. Guess what? I was yelling a story again. In my defense, I have no sense of anyone around me when I am yell-telling a story. We were all having a grand old time and unfortunately, the shusher was not there to assist. “Excuse me,” interrupted a grumpy fellow patron, “but my husband and I are trying to have a romantic evening. Could you keep it down?” Yikes. We giggled our apologies and she returned to her seat, TWO tables away, BEHIND me. My voice wasn’t even aimed in her direction. We all agreed that they should have stayed home if silence was key to their romance, but we all knew I’d gotten an N for self control again. How ladylike.
  5. Dismissal. A manager of Giordano’s in Rosemont asked my college roommates and me to leave because they were “closing” even though other patrons hadn’t received their food yet.
  6. Dirty looks. Just the other day, Vicki and I were in Kenosha celebrating our friend Kim’s birthday at the Tilted Kilt. I thought the Tilted Kilt would be entertaining, but I found it disturbing. All that waitress cleavage and bare belly walking and/or jiggling around was sort of creepy and out of place with our club sandwiches and mom selves. Vicki and Kim and I have been friends for more than 30 years and needless to say, I’m never on my best behavior with them. Proceed with the yell-telling! I am often made aware of my volume when someone at another table makes direct eye contact with me. The person looks pointedly at me while experiencing some combination of amusement and/or disgust. This is embarrassing and alerts me to my loudness. “Ugh!” I said to Vicki and Kim in a much lower voice, “I’m getting the stink eye! Switch seats with me.” We switched so there were only backs facing me. I revved back into my story and within a few seconds, someone TURNED COMPLETELY AROUND to see what in the hell was causing such a ruckus. DAMN IT! I switched seats again so that I was facing the back, empty corner of the restaurant.

    I whined about being a constant freak in public while telling stories and my best friends covered me with their warm friendship acceptance blankets. They told me that they loved my stories and didn’t care what anyone else thought. Although Vicki did remind me that I got shushed at her gigantic spin class, even though the fans, bikes and instructor should have been loud enough to drown me out. Reassured by my wonderful friends, I proceeded to imitate the way that I meow at my dog and the crazy way he reacts. Kim sighed and said, “Well, maybe I can see why people are giving you looks. You’re making some REALLY weird faces.” Suddenly I could see myself from the outside in and imagined my reaction if I saw some grown woman contorting her face and loudly meowing at a restaurant. We all threw our heads back and laughed, LOUD.

Oh well.  Go ahead and stare, glare or shush.  Hurt feelings be damned, you know I’m yelling the next story anyway. 


  1. Yell.
    Yell a story.
    Yell out loud, Yell out strong.
    Yell of good things, not bad.
    Yell of happy, not sad.
    Yell a story.
    Make it simple to last your whole life long.
    Don´t worry that it´s not good enough for anyone else to hear.
    Just Yell.
    Yell a story.
    La La La La La La
    La La La La La La

  2. At Bunko last night, someone I had never met asked me to send a link to this loud blog because now that she witnessed actual yell-telling in person, she wanted to read it. Plus one of my friends kept jokingly shushing me which actually started to make me mad. I have PTSD of the shushing variety.


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