Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Dinner Thoughts

A couple of weeks ago I was at a gathering, seated in a corner at a small, round table with a rabbit, a dog and a peacock. The rabbit was a timid, middle-aged woman, unremarkable except for a slight twitch and a tendency to blush. The dog was a stout fellow with an immobile face until he barked and his jowls shook. In possession of several higher degrees and heaps of knowledge, the peacock was intent on impressing the rabbit and the dog and me. The conflict between the dog and the peacock frightened the rabbit whose timidity was real and was also a way to control the angry dog and the superior peacock. I must say that the rabbit did elicit in me an urge to rescue but, wisely, I stayed out of it and remained engrossed in my bland plate of food and a quite good martini.

To some extent, we all have facades; to be known is to be vulnerable in a sometimes hostile world. But some facades are so thickly built that an inner self does not come through. This sets up a conundrum: People want to be known and they also do not want to be known. Wanting to be known while remaining hidden is at the root of much anxiety, alienation and loneliness. The rabbit, the dog and the peacock, if they desired to change (know themselves better) would have to, bit by bit, give up fear in the guise of compliance, anger and superiority. That would leave more room for love, the antidote to fear. Hopefully, it would also make for better dining companions.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Happy V

My Wild Heart

Folded six times square
and tucked up in my breast,
My wild heart leapt
when you walked into the room.

Here, take it.
Shake it out
and dry your tears.

Washed and returned,
I'll press it thin,
then fold it back
in case, in time,
you need it once again.

Shirty Stuff

You know that drawer in your kitchen where you put things that have no other place to go? Once in a while I clean it out and this morning was one of those days; I threw away an earring, a battery, scraps of paper, a tube of sticky stuff that oozed onto an old candy bar and screws and parts to something. The catch-all drawer is clean now but not for long. In life, perfect is always temporary.

This messy corner of my life got me thinking about how necessary it is to manage messy in relationships if friendship and love are important to you. I can't think of a single, beloved friend who doesn't have some pesky little behaviors, some self-centered thinking or off-putting politics, and without doubt, they would say the same about me. Same goes for partners.

When you are young and/or naive you may believe that honesty is the only way to go. Point out imperfections: Tell her she has to be punctual if she wants to be your friend, tell him he needs to get to the gym. You may get away with this to some extent but people have a way of never forgetting criticism. Mind you, I'm not talking about big issues that have to be discussed. I'm talking about little, shirty stuff. (Recently stumbled across "shirty". Means irritating) It's not so much about accepting a behavior. You know you are never going to like the way he laughs or that she is a bit stingy. It's more the skill of overlooking. Mentally putting the shirty stuff in a junk drawer and visiting it as little as possible.

Want to give a loved one a valentine gift this week? How about a drawer?