Judge John Hodgman on Bird-Watching Etiquette

Alex writes: My fiancée, Edie, is a bird-watcher. Often when we’re walking, she’ll stop and demand silence to use her birding app, which identifies birds by sound. This interrupts our chats, and the app records me saying dumb things. Please order Edie to stop.

Since her app seems to routinely capture you “saying dumb things,” how much of this is actual conversation and how much is you just chirping out every thought you have? My wife knits, so I know how it stings when a spouse seems more interested in their own hobby than in listening to you. It’s as if they have their own inner life or something. Look, you both should try not to be rude. Talk, yes, but listen, too, and appreciate silence. But if you really thought I would rule against a bird-watcher called Edie, then you obviously don’t know me or my love for Wes Anderson-style characters at all.

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