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By Simone Richardson - posted Friday, 4 December 2015

"You look tired," I said.

"I am," she replied. "I was up late watching pointless TV."

"Why didn't you just go to sleep?" I asked.


"I couldn't," she said. "It's Mark. He was hovering."

"Ah," I said. "Hovering."

The hover: that all too familiar, yet little spoken of marital dance. I can well imagine the situation. Samantha lying in bed watching episode after episode of Friends or the like. Mark lying beside her. Unasleep. No word is spoken between them but she knows. She can feel it. As soon as she closes up her computer, he'll make his move. Not interested in giving him what he wants, but equally uninterested in conflict, she decides to wait him out. Another episode. Maybe he'll give up and fall asleep.

"I don't understand it," Samantha said to me. "The whole hovering thing. It's stupid. Counter-productive. I was too tired to think of it last night and now I'm going to be even more tired tonight. What does he think he's achieving?"

I shrugged. Hovering is clearly a bad game plan. Hoverers have to be able to see that. But not Mark, apparently. From what Sam has told me, Mark could hover for England.

"First he'll try the 'I'm reading my book' approach," she explained. "He'll lie there next to me with his book open, pretending to read, but every few minutes he'll look over my shoulder to see how long my episode has left to go. That's the give away. If he could just read his book, then who knows what might happen. But he can't do that. He has to make himself annoying. So I'll start a new episode hoping to give him the hint. And he'll sigh…"


"Does he take the hint?" I asked.

"Oh no," she said. "Next he'll play on his phone for half an hour or so, watching me. Then he'll start the 'I'm getting a cup of tea, would you like one?' routine. By this time he'll be pretty tired and will need to keep himself awake somehow - you have to be awake to hover effectively. Of course I won't want tea at midnight, so then he'll power on with his much loved 'Hey, maybe we could watch this show together' strategy."

"And you're not into that?" I asked.

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About the Author

Simone Richardson is a teacher and writer from Cairns in the Far North of Queensland.

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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