I am developing a troubling new skill as I move forward with my bar exam studying - the half-hear. Let me explain.
For those of you who have been spared the ordeal of suffering through or supporting a significant other/family member as they suffer through preparation for the bar exam, here's the way some of it goes:
I have the option to either attend lectures in class or at home online six days a week - but both are just pre-recorded videos of various law professors teaching from a pre-prepared outline on the day's subject. The bar prep company encourages "active" listening, so they give us a giant book in which we are to take (mostly irrelevant) notes that match exactly the lecture and outline, with big blanks for us to fill in as we follow along.
It's actually a fantastic method, since I like a good, on-going task to keep me focused, but when the lecturers digress, or I get ahead in my filling-in-the-blanks and have to wait for the lecture to catch up, I tend to do other things (like play Words with Friends on my phone, check Facebook, or - like today - draft something for my blog). But I'm always keeping my ear stretched out for whenever the lecturer wanders back to the topic at hand. And I have gotten pretty good at doing both things half-well at the same time.
Which is great for bar prep (or not, I'll let you know when I get my scores back in October), but terrible for my relationships. I now feel a pressing need to multi-task when I talk to anyone. I half-hear all my conversations while I surreptitiously let my mind wander through mental checklists or pick up stuff around the house or do the dishes. I don't do it with everyone, and I don't do it the entire time, but it bothers me nonetheless.
I distinctly remember going ape-shit on an ex boyfriend years and years ago for farting around on the computer all the time when we were talking on the phone. It was painfully obvious that he was responding to emails and surfing the web instead of following along with our conversation, and it drove me bonkers. I get annoyed just thinking about it - but I'm starting to do it to other people! I find myself having to re-ask questions, make them repeat things, pretend I heard the last thing they said - and I've been doing a terrible job on my dishes. So add the half-hear to one of the many bad, bad habits bar prep has successfully introduced into my life.
But I am resolving to cut it out. Cold turkey. When I'm not listening to bar lectures, that is.