If you’ve ever done any review writing and/or reading, you will also find it amusing, as I do, that people leave such varying comments on the same place. Click on any random review of a Days Inn, just for kicks, and you’ll see 50-some reviews – the pool was great. the pool was gross. the breakfast buffet was hot and fresh. the buffet sucked and the toaster broke. the manager was super helpful. the manager was totally unhelpful. and so on… Same goes for restaurants, events, movies, whatever consumer good or service there is you will find upteen conflicting opinions on it.
Then take that into our interpersonal relationships and the real fun begins. I recently had the (debatable) privilege of hearing two sides of a date. One of the two on said date had a version of the event. The second of the two on said date had a similar version of the details, but walked away with an entirely different impression of what exactly happened. Multiply this experience by hundreds of thousands of times and you get the human experience.
I love that ole allegory and subsequent poem of the blind men and the elephant. You get these five guys who encounter different parts of the elephant and come up with zany conclusions about what it is.
Our lives sometimes are much like that. We have one piece of the puzzle and we try to figure it out on our own, letting our minds create something that may not even be there, let alone accurate. We lie on the bed at night reviewing the encounters of the day from a single vantage point, maybe projecting our insecurities, or conversely our over-confidences, onto every conversation. Did he really say that? What did he mean by___? Was he thinking about ___ or was she referring to ___? Sometimes we get into a dialogue with ourselves. If he says this, I’ll say that or if he doesn’t say that, I will ask him this.
Add the layer of internal dialogue to spoken communication and you have the elephant in the room. I’m not going to come right out and say you are the most amazing person I’ve met in a long time and I just want to see where this goes, because that’s crazy talk. Unless he says it first. Or you don’t want to hurt the person’s feelings by saying you’re awesome, you’re fun, let’s hang out but I don’t make commitments because I’m a wuss and I’ve been hurt for more years than you’ve been alive.
(Wait, scratch that last thing. That has no relevance… )
So then someone gets up the nerve to ask, What are we doing here? And they don’t mean it in the existential way. They mean bring it down to right here, right now, and tell me what I want to hear or I will throw up.
One of my favorite scenes in a movie, though far from my favorite movie (and for the record I wouldn’t recommend it to just anyone because it’s on the lame side) is the scene in Chasing Amy where Holden and Alyssa are in the car and it’s pouring rain and she just bought him this really cheesy painting at a diner and he has to pull the car over because he has something incredibly important to say. And I now have to paste the monologue in its entirety because it’s rather awesome and no one in the history of any where has said all this ever.
I love you. And not, not in a friendly way, although I think we’re great friends. And not in a misplaced affection, puppy-dog way, although I’m sure that’s what you’ll call it. I love you. Very, very simple, very truly. You are the-the epitome of everything I have ever looked for in another human being. And I know that you think of me as just a friend, and crossing that line is-is-is the furthest thing from an option you would ever consider. But I had to say it. I just, I can’t take this anymore. I can’t stand next to you without wanting to hold you. I can’t-I can’t look into your eyes without feeling that-that longing you only read about in trashy romance novels. I can’t talk to you without wanting to express my love for everything you are. And I know this will probably queer our friendship – no pun intended – but I had to say it, ’cause I’ve never felt this way before, and I-I don’t care. I like who I am because of it. And if bringing this to light means we can’t hang out anymore, then that hurts me. But God, I just, I couldn’t allow another day to go by without just getting it out there, regardless of the outcome, which by the look on your face is to be the inevitable shoot-down. And, you know, I’ll accept that. But I know, I know that some part of you is hesitating for a moment, and if there’s a moment of hesitation, then that means you feel something too. And all I ask, please, is that you just – you just not dismiss that, and try to dwell in it for just ten seconds. Alyssa, there isn’t another soul on this [ ] planet who has ever made me half the person I am when I’m with you, and I would risk this friendship for the chance to take it to the next plateau. Because it is there between you and me. You can’t deny that. Even if, you know, even if we never talk again after tonight, please know that I am forever changed because of who you are and what you’ve meant to me, which – while I do appreciate it – I’d never need a painting of birds bought at a diner to remind me of.
Insert super big sigh here.
So my point in relaying that is how honest and forthright that is, compared to how afraid and hesitant many of us are to express everything we are feeling at any given moment. We’re afraid of burning bridges. Afraid of being misunderstood, shot down, ridiculed, insulted, and generally scorned. Worried we’ll lose something precious or gain something we don’t want. So we walk away from an experience and we try to figure it all out, the path of least resistance, the path paved with gold as if there is one path that leaves no trace. No one likes getting hurt or hurting others, unless you are a jerkface.
So we just let it go and we let the chips fall where they may and pray to God they aren’t cow chips.
To read the Elephant poem … go to this website.