Trial Balloon

Ask Dr. Heartlander

Posted at 6:01 AM on April 13, 2010 by Dale Connelly (45 Comments)
Filed under: Ask Dr. Heartlander

Radio Heartland has tickets to give away for a performance by Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas at the Cedar Cultural Center coming up this Friday, April 16th at 8pm.
We'll accept entries until 1pm today and will notify winners by e-mail later this afternoon.

Enter the drawing.
Obey the rules.
Good Luck!

My apologies to the Trial Balloon and Radio Heartland community for my absence over the next few days - even though I just had a wonderful week-and-a-half vacation, the show may sound somewhat "canned" as I attend to a bit of family business that simply can't wait. I'll be back, live in the studio, on Friday!


Dear Dr. Heartlander,

There's this guy I hang out with who is sometimes "there" and sometimes "not there" and it can be really difficult for me to tell the difference.

You know how a person sometimes can say kinda generic things and he stares off into the distance and then tries to give the appearance that he is engaged and paying attention to you but it's obvious that he's really not and his mind is actually, like, somewhere else?

Well that's this guy every now and then, although lately it seems like its been pretty much all the time. What's with that?

I worry that he's on drugs or something, and then I worry that he just doesn't like me and is thinking about someone else all the time. And then I get annoyed that maybe he's so, like, selfish and uncaring.

He says it's just his personality that's remote and he only seems kinda detatched and, well, uninvolved and stupid. But I don't know ... I think maybe that the remote control zombie vibe he gives off is the real him, and I should be ...

Looking Elsewhere

I told "Looking Elsewhere" that it's human nature to personalize the actions of others - to think that what they're doing is really about you. But often it's not the case - everybody wrestles with their own issues for their own reasons and all they want or need from you is a little kindness and some understanding.

But then again, some people are just jerks.

Looking back on my advice now, I guess I wasn't very helpful.
What do YOU think, Dr. Heartlander?

Comments (45)

Dear LE,

Maybe your friend simply has allergies and his medicine is making him feel vague. That's my excuse this spring and I am stickin to it.

Heartlanders watch out for the thunder, lightning, and pollen this morning

Posted by Beth-Ann | April 13, 2010 6:09 AM

dear LE - think about what you are willing to accept. why were you hanging out with him in the first place? there must be some redeeming features... is he clever, witty, kind, accommodating, uplifting, funny, insightful, and a good writer? does he like quirky music? if so, you may be willing to accept his occasional absences, real or emotional, and enjoy him when he's connected. in his absences, be sure to have some of his quirky music to listen to.

Clyde - so glad the tea went so well. sounds like a great time for your wife (and all).

Posted by barb in Blackhoof | April 13, 2010 6:22 AM

Good Morning? Any one there?

Is any one, including me, really here? We know, Dale, that some times you pretends to be here, but you aren't. At least you give us warnings and we know you can't be here all the time. Good luck with the business you need to attend to.

Maybe all of this is pretend. We don't actually know if any one is what they say they are, all we see are blog entries. Maybe a faker is making all of these postings and I am one too. No, I guess that isn't really true but how do we know?

Maybe we should just tell Looking Elsewhere that there is no way to be sure what any one is thinking, every thing could be fake and may be no one is really there. However, I guess that advice wouldn't be too helpful and we should just try to be comforting and tell Looking Elsewhere that we hope that person will start paying attention, but it is okay to look elsewhere.

Posted by Jim | April 13, 2010 6:41 AM

Perfect subject for today as I am completely not there. Spent most of the night up dealing w/ one of my dogs who is very afraid of thunder and lightning. Super Yawn!

Posted by sherrilee | April 13, 2010 7:03 AM

Dear LE,

Have your friend get a CAT scan, and if there is nothing wrong, accept that your friend either can't or won't pay attention or move on.

Good morning, all!

Posted by elinor | April 13, 2010 7:03 AM

Dear LE,
The way you talk sounds very familiar. I think you'd hit it off with Dale's friend, Bubby. He doesn't have any of those admirable attributes Barb named above, (BTW Barb, you're not fooling anybody - we all know you're talking about Garrison Keillor!) and even though he has a very limited vocabulary and doesn't apply himself, deep down he's a really potentially great person. When Dale gets back, ask him to hook you up. In the meantime, you should spend time with someone who's even less attentive than the fellow you wrote about. It would make you appreciate him more and help you see that there are probably things about him you're taking for granted. I know this guy named Carlos who'd be perfect!

Posted by Donna | April 13, 2010 7:20 AM

Huh? What ? Were you talking to me? - Oh, of course you were - who else would you be talking too, anyway. So - sure thing - great topic. We're talking about being distracted, aren't we? Let me think about it. I'll get back to you, OK? Great.

Posted by Teri in Zimmerman | April 13, 2010 7:23 AM

Dear LE: I think you could be describing me -- do I know you? While I normally make an effort to focus and listen to whomever is talking, if I find them boring, repetitive, ranting or saying something unimportant; I have the unfortunate habit of tuning them out. This happens when I'm thinking of other things I need to do or if I'm reading or there's any music playing.

I guess I'm easily distracted or I'm being taken over temporarily by aliens. Just to be a smart-ass here, we could turn the tables and ask if YOU are being boring, repetitive, ranting or generally spouting unimportant rambling. And if you are -- so what? I do, too, on occasion -- so do we all. Nobody's perfect, we all have our momentary failings and there's too much complexity in our world to be "on" all the time. What were you saying?

Posted by Joanne in Big Lake | April 13, 2010 7:32 AM

Jim - good, however uneasy, thoughts. wouldn't that be something if you were the only real person on the blog? hmmmm. do you think Dale is a figment of JASPER's imagination? what about when we see him at the fair? hologram?
Donna - does Uncle Roy need to give Carlos a talking to??

i'm just in from the barn - milking and interfering with the "survival of the fittest" concept. hungry triplets - two teats. not a good sit. Alba did better this morning; so did i.
happy busy day, All

Posted by barb in Blackhoof | April 13, 2010 7:40 AM

I guess the question, too, might be - are you both living in the same reality? Perhaps your friend exists on a slightly different plane and only appears to be in the same space and time as you.

But like Barb in Blackhoof points out, if your friend is mostly a good friend and person with occasional attention difficulties, perhaps on balance, you should stick it out. Friendships are not built on a handful of days, but over time.

Posted by Anna | April 13, 2010 7:42 AM

It could be, LE, that he's 84 and starting to lose his memory... Talking to my mother last week was, at times, something like you describe! You think they're tracking with you, and then you go "uh-oh". It's not your fault, probably; just be patient and repeat whatever needs repeating and try again.

Posted by Barbara in Robbinsdale | April 13, 2010 7:46 AM

Barb--now which barb-- uh. Ah, may be he is 65.

Posted by Cly de . . .uh . . uh .. .uh. . . | April 13, 2010 7:54 AM

Barb, I was trying to be funny, but I've been told I should get a little more sleep which might help me be more positive and light hearted. However, it is possible in this day and age that the real is starting to be replaced by a virtual world.

Posted by Jim | April 13, 2010 7:57 AM

Barbara - yes, indeed. yesterday Mom fell asleep while we were talking (i was feeling a little like LE). and the other day (while we were discussing what a bum rap Tiger Woods got - she LOVES Tiger Woods) she said "50 % of the men in the US cheat on their wives and i can prove it. they are not with their wives." where are they, Mom? here? "i'm not telling," she said with a smile. she is 90
i hear you, Clyde. well, sometimes

Posted by barb in Blackhoof | April 13, 2010 8:20 AM

About 30% of the thinga my wife and I say to each other are in this list:
How are are you feeling?
I'm all righr but how are you feeling?
Could you speak louder?
I didn't hear that?
When did you tell me that?
When did I tell you that?
Were you listening to me?
Sorry, my mind wandered off there for a bit.
Sandy, wake up.
Clyde, did I fall asleep?
Do you want to go out?
I'm not sure; do you want to go out?

Posted by Cly de uhuhuhuhuhuhu | April 13, 2010 8:27 AM

funny, Clyde - very real and sounds familiar

Posted by barb in Blackhoof | April 13, 2010 8:40 AM

Clyde, I also have problems with a person who is a little hard of hearing or, maybe, not listening. You probably know this situation where when you speak very loud and clearly and you are not heard, but some softly spoken words are heard.

Posted by Jim | April 13, 2010 8:44 AM

Ha! Good point Jim - how many of these bloggers are real? I guess some of us will find out this weekend at TMoRA. (There is a gathering of TBBs at 1:00 Saturday, at the Museum of Russian Art in S. Mpls.)

Posted by Barbara in Robbinsdale | April 13, 2010 8:51 AM

...well, I was referring to your first post, Jim.

Posted by Barbara in Robbinsdale | April 13, 2010 8:53 AM

My wife and I have analyzed this. We agree that for both of us not hearing is sometimes part focus. We try but often forget to first get the other's attention. I do not hear the first couple of words often because my mind needs to focus on the words.
Also, hearing at our age is so affected by background noises, if the speaker is facing directly at you, and that we can hear some sonds better than others. My fm makes it impossible for me to hear with much noise in the background. I hear just a general rumble if there is a lot of mixed noise or if there is some noise and it is an otherwise chaotic situation.
I think old hearing issues are also old brain issues.

Posted by Cly de deaf | April 13, 2010 8:54 AM

I hear thunder right not, and it's raining. Yay!

Posted by Barbara in Robbinsdale | April 13, 2010 9:01 AM

Barbara... thanks for the reminder.

RHers. If you will weigh in over the next couple of days, on whether you think you'll be able to join us at our first TBB field trip to TMORA on Saturday, I'll make a list and make some more goat pins! If you still have a goat pin from State Fair or Duo concert.. bring it along!

Posted by sherrilee | April 13, 2010 9:02 AM

LE-I believe you forgot that next week is tax day. Perhaps your friend is somewhat preoccupied with his finaces. If he doesn't shape up by May 1, demand to see his tax return and see what's up. If there is trouble with the exchequer, then you'll know. If there isn't, I'd dump him and find someone more attentive.

Posted by Renee | April 13, 2010 9:04 AM

oops-This week is tax day! See how out of touch I am-it could happen to anyone

Posted by Renee | April 13, 2010 9:07 AM

Clyde, I agree there are many factors involved in hearing and you have covered many of them and there are some others related to personality and human nature..

Posted by Jim | April 13, 2010 9:07 AM

sherrilee-would so love to be there with my Russian wife. But we are on babysitting duty TRhursday evening through Sunday evening.

Posted by Cly de Poopiere de Parte | April 13, 2010 9:09 AM

This reminds me of John Prine's song Linda Goes to Mars, about another uncommunicative couple -

I just found out yesterday that Linda goes to Mars
Every time I sit and look at pictures of used cars...
She'll turn on her radio and sit down in her chair
And look at me across the room, as if I wasn't there.

I have to admit I'm a little familiar with that terrain.

Posted by Linda in St. Paul (West Side) | April 13, 2010 9:11 AM

I want to switch the conversation to old eyes. A couple of weeks ago the Comments window suddenly started using a much smaller type--looks like about 7-8 point. And it is a sarif type, which makes it harder to read in small print. I thought some setting changed on this computer but the same thing happened at the same time on my home computer. Am I the only one????
Jim--yes there are personality issues in hearing. But I am not naming names. I have one or two of my own I am not naming.

Posted by Clyde de blindde | April 13, 2010 9:14 AM

Cly de blindde

you may know of this already, but at the upper left top of your screen should be a "view" button. if you click on the drop-down menu there should be a "text size" option where you can enlarge the text to fit your needs. e.g. "increase" or "decrease" it's a pain to do it each time you enter the blog, but really helps.
send some of that rain up here!! dry as a bone. and cold.

Posted by barb in Blackhoof | April 13, 2010 11:14 AM

I allow myself the illusion - being too young to blame old age - that the reason I can't hear my husband and daughter is that they both speak very quietly (husband has at least admitted as much)...though years of working with power tools without benefit of hearing protection probably have not helped.

And on the TMORA topic: count me in (and I will need a goat pin as I have missed other opportunities to snag one).

Posted by Anna | April 13, 2010 11:54 AM

No I did not know that, barb in blackhoof. And, you know what, it does not change the size of the type.
Anna, an oddity of deafness is that you speak more softly. Almost everyone with declining hearing does it. Why is that?

Posted by Cly in tiny tiny type | April 13, 2010 12:07 PM

interesting, Cly de doubtful. click it several times (have to go back to the "view" each time after a click on our computer and each time it will increase. not as big as the already written comments, but bigger.
if not, bummer!
out to give all the kids their immunizations (tetanus, clostridium, etc.)
fun, fun, fun

Posted by barb in Blackhoof | April 13, 2010 12:17 PM

Changes the sizxe of the type on other windows I open, but not here. No biggie. Just wnodering if only mine dropped the size and I guess it did on both of my computers at the same time.
I sometimes enter in Word and then paste in.

Posted by Cly de dum | April 13, 2010 12:29 PM

Clyde and Barb, I don't know if this is right, but I wonder if everyone has the same tool bar to use to adjust their screens. I use Yahoo as my Windows Explorer page and I think I have a Yahoo tool bar to use to adjust the screen for Radio Heartland. I just found out that I can adjust the size of the print on Radio Heartland and Yahoo by getting the drop down menu under the word "page" on the tool bar. Then I can use the zoom option to increase the size of the print.;

Posted by Jim | April 13, 2010 1:01 PM

I cannot change it in IE or Mozilla, but then what can I control.

Posted by Clyde | April 13, 2010 1:20 PM

Clyde in tiny type ~
I have observed the same 'shrinking font size' phenomenon.I wonder if it would be a good thing to mention this situation to the webmaster at Trial Balloon, whoever that may be. Dale? Mike? If it isn't either one of you, can we email a message to the webmaster and beg politley for a larger font size to be made available for use in the Comments box? The size of the font is OK after one's message is posted, but the very small size of the font that appears as we are preparing our remarks prior to posting is hard for some of us to work with. Thanks!

Posted by Teri in Zimmerman | April 13, 2010 1:27 PM

Over the Top of My Computer Monitor

Over the top of my computer monitor a large window, another monitor,
frames those who come and go from 209 S 2nd St.,
who have not made the news on my computer--
not enough glamour, misery, hate, nor luck--
so who notices but me, behind my screen.

Over the top of my computer monitor:
Pass many with hand to ear holding phone.
Not holding hand to heart holding love,
Not hand to others offering recognition and peace,
Not hands in pocket with ease of manner and peace of soul;
but hand to ear holding those near afar.

Over the top of my computer monitor:
Come workers in their city trucks to cut down trees.
Who deemed oxygen as less worth on the boulevard?
For what reason need trees be charneled?
They offer no harm but only green and rustle of leaves
where so much is gray and inert.
They were young trees healthy and full of promise of shade.

Over the top of my computer monitor:
Stand those who smoke, on break from group session.
Their cigarettes are swords of insult against rules.
Their cigarettes are canes of support where someone has failed them.
Their cigarettes are a bond of brotherhood they may not find upstairs
where they meet and talk every Thursday from 9 to 11,
except for the minutes allowed over the top of my computer monitor.

Over the top of my computer monitor:
Passes three times each day, coming to work
then to and back from lunch, always in solo,
she who though young, slim, pretty, and elegant of style,
but who fails to be attractive.
What has given here the thrust of chin,
That dare in her eye for anyone to smile at her?

Over the top of my computer monitor:
Rush carriers from UPS, USPS, and FEDEX.
As if their messages were of importance
and not just business: shipment, invoice, and payment.
Their boxes carry not the souls of anyone,
any of those who 8 to 5 inhabit this sandstone filing cabinet.
Their envelopes carry no lore nor sacred text of faith
nor the glue that binds up a people in means other than dollars.

Over the top of my computer monitor:
Trot the young to buy insurance
for their cars and not their delicate and too eager hearts;
for their motorcycles which they think so daringly proclaim their presence.
Not for their futures, which they will measure in terms Progressive.
Not for the promises they will make or accept, at altar or in private.
Not for those who in indifference or indelicacy or ignorance
They will mar, as we all have done but they know not.

Over the top of my computer monitor they all come and go.
But I sit behind my screen and merely look on,
imagining a shade on that window
over the top of my computer monitor.

Posted by Clyde Playing Tennis without a Net | April 13, 2010 1:48 PM

I guess it is the IE or Internet Explorer tool bar that I am using to zoom in and increase print size. As I said above, it is the drop down meenu under the work "page" that has the zoom.

Posted by Jim | April 13, 2010 1:56 PM

Jim, not working for me, nor the zoom text on Mozilla. And as I say, they both change text size on other sites I use with entry screens. Wired is weird.

Posted by Clyde | April 13, 2010 2:01 PM

Clyde - in Mozilla Firefox the "zoom" works on the comment section. that little print is frustrating, indeed.
please send some rain!! everything blew over today and it's so dry up here.
thanks for any you can spare.

Posted by barb in Blackhoof | April 13, 2010 4:58 PM

Thanks, barb. I use IE at work, company policy, and Mozilla at home (and now and then cheat into Mozilla on second computer at work). I was just zooming text in Mozilla and you have to zoom in period. It still takes several hits to get it very large while the previous posts get very large. Mozilla gives a sanserif font as opposed to the IE font. A rule of typography is that serifs should be avoided in small point sizes.
Would love to have control of the rain . . One of my favorite poems begins "At the next opening for God and when I am duly appointed . . ." but it's not about the weather.

Posted by CLYDE | April 13, 2010 6:54 PM

Clyde -- I love the computer monitor poem!
Jim - I loved your funny first post. No, seriously, I mean it!
Sherryilleee -- that is so nice of you to make goat pins. I still have mine from the duos concert and the stickum is still sticky!
Barb -- Your mom must be such a kick!
Also, thank you for offering to have Uncle Roy talk to Carlos, and YES he could use a good talking to! He's been gone so much lately that it's making it hard for me to make stuff up about him.

Posted by Donna | April 13, 2010 7:40 PM

My wife just told an old person listening story from the tea party I have to share. My daughter gave A. violets as places card and party favors. Several said they usually kills violets. So my wife told, in longer version, how 92 year old Gert, who was at the party, just buys a new one each month. When she was done with the story, Gert said that was funny because she does that too.
Good night Carlos, who is less a figment of our combined imagination than Jim and I.

Posted by Clyde in Mankato | April 13, 2010 7:49 PM

Clyde, that violet story is so good! Please tell your wife happy belated for me. (I'd comment on your combined figment remark but I don't get it.)

Posted by Donna | April 13, 2010 8:10 PM

Well, Dale, then how about my implied request from yesterday--Brownie and Pete in Garrison's Gospel Quartet album?

And Aaron, what are you up to?

Posted by clyde | April 16, 2010 7:46 AM

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