Here's a (representative) conversation we just had. We were in the middle of a conversation about something else, where he did answer me - it's not like he was looking at code or doing something and I've just interrupted him.
Me: So I was going to work on XYZ feature today, but there's two pieces to it - I can add the feature, but once I add the feature, I'm not sure what to do with it.
Him: <Slight nod>
Me: So, when I add this feature, it's not actually going to do anything until we decide what we're going to do with it.
Him: <pause, no response>
Me: So... I'm not sure exactly how we should use it, I need you to tell me what we're going to do with it.
Him: <slightly annoyed, I read his body language as "why are you telling me this? / are you still here?"> Yes, I know.
You can think of this feature to be something like adding a server side AJAX response to a webpage - it doesn't do anything unless the served page on the other side makes the new type request.
We have so many things to work on and I don't want to spend time working on something that's ultimately not going to be useful when I don't know how long it's going to be for my boss to get back to me about the design question. I'm looking for him to say something like "I'll get back to you by the end of the day" or "Don't worry about it until next week" or "I need to think about it for awhile". Just say the words instead of saying NOTHING in the
Note: I am going to be writing BOTH sides of the code, it's just that he hasn't decided what he wants the other side to be yet.
His boss has actively been trying to get us to communicate better, but many times I don't really feel like my boss is making the effort. How can I get him to, I hate to phrase it this way, but "act normal" (i.e. respond when spoken to)? It's almost like he considers the conversation to be over but he doesn't say the niceties like "I need to get back to ABC thing now, let's catch up later".