"Samuel began to talk to push the silence away. He told how he had first come to the valley fresh from Ireland, but within a few words neither Cathy nor Adam was listening to him. To prove it, he used a trick he had devised to discover whether his children were listening when they begged him to read to them and would not let him stop. He threw in two sentences of nonsense. There was no response from either Adam or Cathy. He gave up." from John Steinbeck's East of Eden.
This is one of the reason's why I enjoy reading literature, we humans are connected in our humanness despite our living in separate bits of time and in different places. The time and place any human or group of humans lives within is definitely significant in determining who he or she or they will be but there is still that 'humanness' in us all, for good or evil.
The above quote reminds me of one Sunday afternoon lunch I shared with my friend Andrea. We ate at P.F. Chang's in the St. Johns Town Center which I had never been to. We sat, talking and 'listening' to each other all through our meal. Well, sometimes Andrea's mind wonders to who knows (I suppose only an omniscient god) where? Well, I picked up on her habit of wondering and was able to sympathize due to my own habit of wondering off to imagined places. Nonetheless, I had to experiment as Samuel does in East of Eden. At one point during our meal I was talking about something that I thought was interesting and said, between two sentences of my story, "So I guess we should all just worship Satan," to which Andrea responded "Uh huh."
However, she as since become a better listener...humans change all the time.