Area Husband Pretends to Care
Attempting to pacify his wife Jena's incessant desire for verbal interaction, area husband Chris Woodman pretended to care Tuesday as his wife of six years initiated and dominated a series of prolonged dialogues regarding an array of unrelated, unimportant subjects.
According to Woodman, the thoroughly pointless conversation - which comprehensively detailed his wife's work day, lunch experience, plans for the evening and friend's relationship difficulties - took place in the living room of the couple's Lafayette home at approximately 6 p.m., shortly after Woodman began watching television in an effort to unwind from work.
"I love my wife, but Jesus, does she like to talk sometimes," said Woodman, 30, who works as a field technician for a local civil engineering firm. "I wanted to just come home [from work] and chill out for awhile, but Jena immediately launches into these long, boring stories about what happened at work and what's going on with a friend of hers and a bunch of other stuff. I just tried to act like I was paying attention and hoped it wouldn't go on too long."
Occasionally retorting with such all-purpose conversation perpetuators as "That's nice, honey" and "No kidding? Huh," Woodman pretended to care about his wife's exhaustively detailed personal accounts until just after 6:45 p.m., when Jena was forced to interrupt the one-sided exchange to receive a telephone call from her longtime friend Nelly Smith.
"Saved by the bell, I guess you'd say," Woodman jokingly explained, adding that he used the brief interruption to exit the room and seek solace behind some cardboard boxes in the basement, where he remained for several hours.
Woodman acknowledged that although the lengthy, expendable conversation depleted a good amount of his after-work leisure time, the 45 minutes spent maintaining a convincing, give-a-shit veneer was not a complete waste.
"I was able to give some thought to a few things I hadn't had time for," said Woodman, who admitted to mentally drifting "light-years away" from his wife's inane banter. "While Jena was busy carrying on about God-knows-what, I was trying to figure out the significance of a couple of scenes from the movie Memento, which we had rented a few nights back. I think I've got most of [the plot] figured out now."
In addition to analyzing the storyline of the 2001 feature, Woodman mentally planned the couple's upcoming camping trip and also reminisced about his 1996 bachelor party weekend in Las Vegas - all the while remembering to nod, say "Yeah," and display other characteristics indicative of a person who is giving a shit.
Woodman said he often pretends to care about what his wife says.
"Somebody - a guy - once told me that women tend to work things out in their heads by talking things out, so most of the time it isn't really necessary to listen to everything a woman says," said Woodman. "It's been my experience that the theory usually holds true. So I tend to just keep my mouth shut and let her talk herself out."
Added Woodman: "Besides, if something's really important to her, I'll pick up on it right away because she'll be yelling. Then it's time to get involved in what I'm sure she feels is an extremely important conversation."
After six years of marriage, Woodman said he feels that his willingness to pretend to care about what his wife says is vital to the health of their relationship.
"If I didn't sit there in total silence, staring off into the distance but occasionally grunting out an 'Oh yeah?' or a "No kidding,' Jena would probably start to think we have a communication problem," said Woodman. "Sure, I could just walk out of the room when she starts barking out her meaningless ramblings, but that would be equivalent to just coming right out and saying that she's boring me."
"I pretend to care because I care," Woodman added.