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i am embarrassed to admit that i don't catch a lot of what paul has to say to me. instead, i basically listen for intonation. when he's winding down i can tell, so when he finishes i'm ready to give him the wide-eyed look and say, "really?" for the most part, this seems to be enough for him, although every once in a while he'll give me a look that just screams, "mommy, you faker!"

when i was in college i was told that the stock response should be "well well well":

friend: [lost in own world]
girlfriend: ... and that's what happened. what do you think?
friend: um.... well well well.
girlfriend: [pleased] exactly what i was thinking!
friend: [thinking] dodged a bullet!

i think the trick to that is how you say it. move the emphasis around to make it sound like a sentence. i never mastered it.

my own stock response is "i see," which i foolishly mentioned to my last assistant. "aha! i'll remember that!" he said to my redembarrassed self. but really, i do actually mean "i see" sometimes, i do.

i am hoping that by the time paul becomes completely disenchanted with "really?" he'll speak clearly enough so that "i see" will become appropriate.



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