I don't like to talk much in the mornings; in fact in normal circumstances it literally hurts my brain to talk before I've been up for about half an hour. The kids know this - two of them are exactly the same - and we have procedures to meet most everyday situations. For example, to wake up middle son (when I've been up only fifteen minutes) I tap him on the shoulder and hold up his freshly-ironed school shirt where he can see it. He has a little "Hi, I'm up" whistle which he does when he gets downstairs, which I acknowledge with a wave of the hand or a "mm-mm" kind of thing. By the time youngest gets woken up, I've been up half an hour, so "time to get up" are often my first words of the day. He grunts acknowledgement, and I've learned over the years to interpret his answering grunts to "do you want the light on?" He's normally ready to speak by the time he gets downstairs, about twenty minutes after I wake him.
OH is different. Not that he's chatty in the mornings - quite the opposite - but I only found out about six months ago that he'd been assuming we were all in really bad moods in the morning because there wasn't much talking going on. He spent years going off to work before anyone else was awake, and had had no idea about all this non-talking until he changed his hours, so once he was confronted with it, he decided that we were all, rudely and deliberately, ignoring him. Yup, he's an only child, how did you guess?
Most days, if there's a conversation going on, I do my best to include him in it, although he never seems very interested. If I say something directly to him, or ask if he has an opinion or any information which may shed light on whatever it is we're discussing, he just looks vague and shrugs his shoulders. But I figure that's his choice and I've done my bit.
Anyway, this morning he got downstairs just after the kids had gone off to school. Conscious of the uncomfortable silence (as opposed to the comfortable silence shared with the boys earlier), and trying to be polite and acknowledge his wish to be "included", I generally try to make some kind of conversation, greatly against my own preference.
This morning my opening gambit was "I see the Winter Olympics start this weekend", in what I hope was an upbeat, 'isn't that interesting' tone of voice. Long experience told me I really wasn't going to get anything along the lines of "Oh good, I'm looking forward to seeing the ski-jump" or anything of that nature, but I felt it reasonable to expect, at the least, something approaching polite interest.
What I got was "Huh. I won't be going." Said in the very flat, dismissive, downbeat tone of voice I always identify as "Not interested. End of conversation."
He then said "< XXX sporting event he likes to watch > started last weekend." I was still annoyed at his response, so I decided to reply in the same way. "Huh. I won't be going." Said in the same downbeat unfriendly way, a tone of voice I would normally only use when I'm really angry with him but trying to keep it fairly calm.
He then started making the annoying chuntering noise he uses to "imitate" my "nagging and moaning".
I told him I wasn't in a bad temper, that I'd said exactly the same words as him, in exactly the same tone of voice, so where was the problem?
"Yes, but I was joking," he said. "You're not."
I said "You were joking? I took it as 'don't care, and can't be bothered to have a conversation about it' "
He didn't reply to that, so after another uncomfortable silence I went back to the kitchen to get on with clearing up breakfast. I heard the front door go, but didn't take much notice, because he often wanders vaguely in and out several times before announcing that he's off to work.
Anyway, when I came back to the sitting room ten minutes later, I discovered he'd actually gone. He was angry enough to fuck off without saying goodbye, just because I'd misinterpreted his bad-tempered dismissive tone of voice as being, er, bad-tempered and dismissive. Incredible.
Of course, now I have to wonder how many other times I've thought he was in a bad mood when he thought he was being lightly amusing. There's clearly scope for some serious misunderstandings here!
So, if anyone can explain exactly how "Huh. I won't be going." is supposed to be funny in this context, I would - seriously and genuinely - love to know.