Communication Challenges

I was waving frantically trying to get the attention of the guy-inthe-garage and he was, to put it politely, completely ignoring me.

Completely ignoring me with a totally disgusted look on his face is another way of saying it. Completely ignoring me yet simultaneously snarling at me would even be a better way to say it.

He was talking on the phone and although he wasn’t originally looking at me, he could sense that I wanted his attention.

He deeply regretted giving it to me. As talented and capable as this guy is when it comes to restoring motorcycles or doing maintenance on anything, the one thing he absolutely cannot do is multi-task.

So if he’s talking to someone on the phone and I’m trying to get his attention, that just shuts down his senses. He can’t understand what I want nor does he know what the person on the other end of the phone just said either. The only thing he seems capable of doing at that point is snarling. At me.

I’m used to all this. I know he doesn’t want me to interrupt him. I know he’s going to get frustrated. I know he can’t listen to me and listen to someone else at the same time.

So why, one might wonder, would I interrupt him during a phone call?

He wondered that same thing.

“What was so important?” he asked after hanging up. Do I need to say it wasn’t in one of his kindest voices?

“You were giving him the wrong email address!” I said.

To say he is technologically challenged would be an understatement. I have heard him threaten to shoot his computer. I have heard him threaten to throw it out the sliding glass door just inches away from his desk.

Another day he was talking on the phone to a guy about restoring motorcycles, in another room I might add, so he could be undisturbed.

But suddenly he shows up at my side and tosses a hastily written note on my desk, then motions frantically and whispers “get me on this website!”

I just about burst out laughing. “Really?” I asked. “How are you going to do that?”

“I’m hoping you’ll help me,” he said and he wasn’t even embarrassed.

How can it be that I’m supposed to be totally quiet and invisible until he needs my help?

I’ve tried. I really have, but being quiet and invisible is not one of my strong points.

I think much faster than he does so he barely had “Hi Bob” out of his mouth and I already typed the whole email since I had a vague idea of what he wanted to say.

It really just took longer that way. Because then he would have to stop and read what I wrote. Then he would tell me that isn’t how he wanted to say it. I would sigh loudly, delete it and patiently wait with my hands poised over the keyboard for the next sentence.

And why would I do that time after time? I kept hoping in vain I could speed things up.

Even though I know for a fact that when he’s trying to think he prefers me to be quiet and invisible.

But as hard as I try, it just ain’t me.

Sherri Kukla is the editor and co-publisher of S&S Off Road Magazine. Along with her husband, the guy-in-the-garage, they are also the founders and directors of Thundering Trails, an off-road camp for inner-city kids in Southern California. Sherri Kukla can be reached at or

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