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SAM CURTIS: I will say this only once, twice, three times...

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: February 21, 2013

Sam Curtis

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They say it's good to talk but what about listening? It's equally important to listen, especially when the words you should be paying attention to may have an impact on, say, whether you enjoy a romantic Valentine's Day meal with your wife or not.

I am raising this for no other reason than to reiterate that Mr C and I have good Valentine's Day experiences and not so good.

This year's ranks quite highly in the latter category.

In the case of Mr C versus the Blackened Catalan chicken, Mr C will argue that he did not hear the timer on the cooker when he was sitting in the lounge, nor did he hear me shout down the stairs when I was putting Lottie to bed to 'turn the oven off please'.

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He will argue that he couldn't smell the burning food that met my nostrils as soon as I set foot on the landing after tucking our daughter into bed. That's two out of his five senses that failed him miserably on the night in question.

Ironically, his sense of taste, which is particularly acute, would not allow him to even sample the deeply chargrilled chicken, potato and red pepper concoction that I removed from the searing hot oven, 35 minutes past its recommended cooking time.

Mr C will argue that with his stomach grumbling and time ticking, he had little option but to then get straight on the phone to order himself a Nepalese curry (plus a starter) at a cost of £17.

In his defence he did ask me if I wanted anything but at half past nine in the evening I couldn't face a plate full of spicy food, so I declined.

I tried to salvage something from the Sainsbury's Finest ready meal that Mr C had purchased for us to enjoy together as a tender gesture, then I gave up and had a bowl of porridge.

We at least had the puddings and the wine to enjoy but by 10pm neither of us had the appetite or the inclination to eat dessert, or sip wine by candlelight, so we sacked Valentine's Day off for 2013.

Mr C then assumed his 'I shouldn't have eaten that much at this time of night' position on the sofa, XBox controller in hand and I retired to the kitchen to see if any of the burnt food was ready to come away from the cooking pots.

It was a disaster but its over now and Mr C did at least listen when I requested a new handbag instead of roses as a gift.

To say that we have not had more incidents of this kind is probably down to luck as much as anything else. I do sometimes wonder how Mr C gets through a day without more calamities, given that he often seems to employ just one sense at a time, if that.

He rarely sees the bin in the kitchen needs emptying or the loo roll needs changing (until he finds himself in an awkward position).

He is oblivious to Bertie the basset when his tongue is lolling and he is panting, staring at his empty water bowl and pays the same attention to the legion of fur bunnies that can roll around our wooden floors like tumble weed for days, just waiting to be vacuumed up.

And yet, he can spot a pretty 20-something girl in tight jeans at 100 yards (he thinks I don't notice where his eyes wander off to) when we drive through town. It's quite astonishing. Selective vision.

Worse than that though, is how annoying it is to spend several minutes talking to him (often when the TV is on, he is using his phone to check Twitter, or playing on his game console) only to discover he hasn't heard a word.

When I ask him for his thoughts, often taking several attempts to get his attention, he usually looks at me blankly and asks, 'what did you say?'

I now give him little tests by saying things like, 'I have booked you in for colonic irrigation on Tuesday while I go to get a tattoo of David Beckham's bottom on my calf.'

If he doesn't so much as look up I know the lights are on but he's not home. Selective hearing.

As for his remaining three senses, touch, smell and taste, they generally play a less important role in communication, although I do believe Mr C could sniff out a bacon sandwich from several miles away.

I know this because he always seems to drop in to see his mum at precisely the same time as she is buttering the bread and layering the crispy rashers on top.

There is clearly something to be said for using your senses selectively.

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