Thursday, September 04, 2008

Safe Harbor

I was talking with my girlfriend, K, tonight, and I realized something about this relationship that's different than others that I've had. It's the safest I've ever felt in opening myself up to another person. Even with J there was fear and uncertainty, and that was the most open I'd been with a woman in my whole life till then.

As K and I talked tonight, an analogy hit me:

A romantic relationship is like a harbor, with a sea wall to keep the worst of the tempest out. It's a place to rest, to recharge, to fortify oneself before heading into the world (sea) again. Each person brings different things into the building of this sea wall that protects that fragile harbor. Consequently, each couple's sea wall is very different, which effects the relative safety of the harbor.

If one person brings sand, and the other cement, a relatively strong wall can be build. If one brings clay and one brings rocks, also, a rudimentary wall can be fashioned that will keep most of the turbulence of the sea out of the harbor. Turbulence within the harbor can quickly erode that sea wall, so it's best avoided at all costs. This means belittling your beloved or blaming, accusing, cheating on, or ignoring will erode that wall.

But this relationship feels like we brought rocks and concrete. Our wall is thick, and high. We take turns protecting, listening to, and healing each other in our safe little harbor. We've also, already developed a very good system of communication where each one of us can take personal responsibility (referred to in the therapy world as owning) of our own issues, and not need to ever point out the others faults. (we already know what they are anyway) :-)

By keeping communication up and blaming down, owning up, and accusing down, we keep building our wall higher, thicker and stronger. This keeps the occasional waves of disharmony from totally destroying that wall, and that wall of safety, in turn, quickly dissipates those disharmonious waves.

I like this little analogy. I like my safe harbor. I like the woman that was willing to put herself forward and help me see how well we fit. Even though I was fearful.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Was I in Virginia?

I like to read The BlankTop Chronicles blog. It's a guy how has to deal with people all day, and actually soemtimes gets to DO what others only dream of. Put a stupid person in their place. Today I was reading his archives, and came across a post that sounded a LOT like something I'D have done. Enjoy.

Friday, July 20, 2007
It's a happy day for me when I encounter a worthy opponent.

What's your name?
GUY: What do you need, first name, last tame, what?
ME: Whichever would be the most easily understood when relayed over a staticy radio to an individual with a limited command of the English language.
GUY: Oh man, you're not going to send me somebody who doesn't speak English are you?
ME: I have to, people who speak fluent English aren't allowed to drive cabs in America.
GUY: Oh, they aren't? That explains a lot.
ME: Yeah, Americans who want to drive cabs are sent to Pakistan as part of the cab driver exchange program. It's set up so no cab driver can speak the language of the country they are in. Americans go to Pakistan, Russians go to Brazil, Mexicans go to China, and so on in that fashion.
GUY: Could you send me somebody who speaks, like, Spanish, maybe?
ME: (suspiciously) Why??? Do you speak Spanish?
GUY: No no no, just a little bit here and there!
ME: No, if you speak even a little Spanish I can't send you a Spanish speaking driver, it's the law.
GUY: Come on! Please?
ME: Absolutely not! If I start sending you drivers that you can actually communicate with then everybody is going to want them. Then what will you have? UTTER CHAOS!
GUY: Actually, wouldn't it kinda be the opposite of chaos?
ME: Hmmmm, I guess it would be. But don't worry, each of our drivers is required to hold a Certificate of Participation from a fly-by-night English as a second language school taught by people who barely speak English themselves. So he will be able to speak enough English to have a conversation with you that will be completely one-sided because you won't be able to understand a word he's saying, so all you will be able to do is smile and nod and say "yeah" a lot.
GUY: Well that should be fun at least.
ME: Oh, it will be. But don't let him get too deep into the conversation and get distracted, because he's probably going to be a pretty lousy driver.
GUY: Yep, I'll keep that in mind. Anything else I should know?
ME: You should probably be ready to give him directions. Even if you're going to some blatantly obvious destination like National Airport that you would think no cab driver on the road wouldn't know how to get to, don't assume he'll know how to get there.
GUY: Got it. I've gotta say, you really sell your cab service well. I'm actually giddy with excitement now wondering what this ride is going to be like.
ME: I wouldn't have it any other way. It's the same feeling of excitement from risking your life you get from skydiving, when some shifty foreigner has packed your parachute.
GUY: That's it exactly.

I'm obviously selling our drivers way too short here, the vast majority of them are very much on the ball. It's just that the feedback I usually encounter is regarding the ones who are not so much on the ball. Luckily, this guy drew a good driver, so I'm sure he had a fine trip.
Doesn't that sound like me? :-D