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Tired Conversations

I didn’t make this discovery until recent years after attending a few conferences and conventions. I’ve always accepted I’m a low energy person except during my middle school days when I played every sport at the school and was a bundle of energy. But that waned during the high school years. Looking back, it makes sense.
Lipreading takes more work even if it is with a person I understand well. In fact, Paul and I were on a conference call (he was helping me “listen”) and I was tired within 30 minutes. This was Paul! I talked to him all the time. In this situation, I was watching him constantly talk for 30 minutes except for the few instances when I contributed. When we regularly talk, it’s a conversation — back and forth. The conference was a conversation with many perspectives and I was lipreading them all constantly with no break.
When I went to sxsw two years ago, I crashed at 8pm on the second to the last night. Didn’t mean to do that, just fell asleep on the bed while resting up for that night’s events. Watching speakers, talking with people, and trying to follow along in gatherings.
Thinking about this further, I was more conscious of this fact when talking to someone one-on-one to see if maybe it was more work for me than an average hearing person even if it was with a person I understood well. After a few conversations, I believe it is harder because not only I have to translate what they’re saying but to digest it, too.
I have to try to put my own thoughts away if I am going to pay attention to the speaker’s thoughts. Unfortunately, I lose my train of thought and what I wanted to say when it was my turn. I believe it’s more important to listen than to speak even though that’s a large order on my part.
I confirmed my theory when a friend of mine went to visit someone in a foreign country and had dinner with them. They were speaking in their native language and she was exhausted trying to follow along. She came back and told me she felt like me in that situation and understands why I get so tired in such situations.
That’s why I cherish email and instant messaging. It evens things, but alas… many I know aren’t e-users. What can I do? I am not going to force e-stuff on them, which is like forcing a hobby on a child. They probably use it when it is necessary, but nothing more.