This post has had a number of titles over the last three days. The Luggage Tag Says – (4), Surprised With Joy or even Little Did I Know … in other words, this has been a very difficult post to put into words (in a good way) – let alone title. Over a month ago, I introduced a person I called Toby (not his name or initial). It was in the post titled Surprised But Not By Joy. I had talked about a deep rooted cynicism I discovered concerning people and was working on getting weeded out of my personal garden.
A several weeks ago, we met Toby again at the same place – and I had a delightful time chatting and getting to know him even better. It was then I realized that D&D were having some serious problems with this. It was that night that D decided to drop the comment to me that I “had more patience that he did what ‘those’ kind of people.” He had put Toby in a very specific category and therefore was not to be trusted or even conversed with beyond minor pleasantries. And there is a HUGE difference between being a cynic and being cautious.
when he smells flowers,
looks around for a coffin.
–H. L. Mencken (1880 – 1956)
Toby and I met for coffee the next day – and embarked on a series of conversations/meetings that were honest, truthful and enlightening.
I had started the series on removing false luggage tags on life’s journey and thought it was almost complete for the time being, when I discovered this tag hidden behind the bright red yarn ball on the handle of my luggage so I can spot it in the midst of others at the airport. I had talked about the false luggage tag of expecting every answer to be according to my expectations.
THIS luggage tag,however, is the tag of expecting every answer to be according to OTHER people’s expectations – sometimes at the expense of my own. And for a “fixer” personality such as I have been dealing with, that can be a real trap. The fixer tends to pour a LOT of personal oil over other people’s troubled waters, to the point their car can run out of oil – and burn out. This doesn’t mean I shouldn’t listen and evaluate others people’s opinions when necessary. It does mean that I can’t base my personal life expectations on the expectations of other people. Before it comes up, I’m not talking about a job where obviously the expectations are going to be based on other people. After all, a job – as a very interesting consultant once said – requires that you rent your behavior for a period of time, based on the expectations of others.
Of course, D&D were merely (in their minds) trying to be protective, attentive, etc.. Based on further comments and conversations that were had – they also had a mindset that was not going to change (easily), and were expecting me to follow in that. They have been unable to share in the fact that within the last week I have been:
(apologies or thank you to C. S. Lewis)
Toby and I went for lunch and a movie. Trying to find the small Greek restaurant that I knew exactly where it was – proved that I didn’t know where it was. We eventually found it – after quite a search on foot. When we sat down, I was struck by the fact we both had been laughing about the situation and enjoying our surroundings. We even took time to stop at an enormous waterfall fountain that is a Houston landmark. We took a great deal of time over lunch and put off the movie until the next day. On my way home I was still chuckling over the excursion to the wilds of “getting lost” in the general vicinity, and was also struck by the ease of the conversation and sharing that occurred.
We met for an early light dinner the next day, and as we were going into the theater – I turned to Toby asked, “Are we dating?” I was horrified that sentence had come out of my mouth. There had been nothing on either side that obviously indicated such a thought was correct. But, being the terminal romantic that I am – (remember, we’re the ones that pat the sandwich after we make them)- my life is colored by many small things as well as the huge brick walls that I occasionally run headlong into.
What is a small thing? As I’ve mentioned before, I have very bad knees and am working toward getting them operated on and repaired. I was struck by the fact that at curbs – without being asked – Toby would pause and wait for me to step down offering his shoulder as balance. A little thing. We visited a couple of friends today, and they had one of those lovely, delightful overstuffed LOW leather couches that even people with great legs have some trouble getting up from. Without a word, or even a glance – there was an arm right in my peripheral vision to hold onto and get up. A little thing. “Oh well,” someone might say – “He’s just being polite, kind or helpful.” To which I reply: “And your point?” The fact is – I’ve never had any of my friends over the last several years do that.
February 17th I posted about “who are you looking for“ not what are you looking for – but who. I included some short descriptions of incidents that in my mind helped me with the “who.”
The dramatist in me realizes that I have not given Toby’s answer to my question along with several other questions people might have. This is, however, a good time for an intermission.