I am fascinated by how much food for thought I can get out
of a brief exchange. I think that is because behind most exchanges
are at least two full histories: what both people bring to the
When Pseudonym seemed concerned that other people were asking where
I was and how we were, I felt angry with her.
This does seem a little crazy the way you are saying it. Are
you angry at
Pseudonym because of what others said to her? Is she responsible
for their invasiveness?)
seemed very much about her ego and her status in a segment
the community of some of our friends.
As she reported it, it didn't seem that people were genuinely
interested in how I was. Only in getting the scoop.
And more importantly for our relationship, it didn't seem
like she was genuinely interested in how I was and why
I am needing to make certain choices right now for my
in how it affects her.
Now that is another matter. Which brings me back to the question,
are you?" Perhaps someone should do a workshop in "how
are you?" where you'd work on really listening empathetically.
I took a communication workshop once where we had to say I
love you to a partner in 20 different ways...like a gray scale
(or music scale) connoting I hate you to I love you.)
said something to that effect to her. That I wished she was
not so concerned with what other people thought.
"I just don't want to look foolish," she said."Like people
are laughing behind my back. Wondering why
you are gone so much."
That comment roused my compassion, or maybe it was
pity. Hard to say.
"Oh, babe," I said, no one is laughing at you. They're
too concerned with how they look and with their
I'm seeing lots of people who don't want their cage rattled.)
of my problem with this is that it is like the telephone game.
I have no way of knowing
what was actually said and what
Pseudonym's retelling. I like to sit
with these kinds of incidents to uncover what I really think and
Sometimes that takes a while to surface.
One thing I am realizing more and more is
that Pseudonym as well as many of my St.
Louis friends are pretty
conventional in their
thinking. They assume a relationship or a
life should look a certain way and that on
some level, there is
something wrong if someone takes time out
to deal with their own
I've been talking to my daughter who is in the throws of social
the benefits of self-interest. There is a classic story about
how all those who participate in the making of a pencil don't
know each other, and might not like each other, but they unknowlingly
collaborate like you described the tango. I guess I'm back
to the "virtue of selfishness."
to original thinkers . . . even the greatest of creative people
didn't have that many
new thoughts, if any. Many had one idea and worked hard to
tweek and sell it.)
Monday, Feb. 6, 2006