vendredi, avril 28, 2006

Sense and Sensitivity

I remember scoffing--scoffing with extreme prejudice--at the concept of Sensitivity Training.

But I might need it.

Never mind even that I believe with absolute, unshakable faith in a glorious resurrection. And forget about my nasty habit of enjoying life enough to feel like kissing it goodbye wouldn't be a soul shattering tragedy. I've just always been OK with Death. Really OK.

Which is really not OK in the eyes of people who want to make a big deal about it for whatever reason. (The reason is usually melodrama, hystrionics, or ignorance--but pointing that out will get you slapped with the old "Judgemental Ass" label. For whatever reason.) So I keep my opinion mostly to myself. People don't want to hear it. Never mind that I believe in meeting people where they are.

Recently, when a co-worker's distant relation passed on, even as I refused to sink to the maudlin level of the proletariat and spout the usual meaningless condolences, I did refrain from spouting anything beyond an earnest: "He was lucky to have you in his life." (I highly recomend this approach. It obviates acrimony and contention by changing the subject away from Death. As an added bonus, I really meant it.) And as I turned to walk away and savor the sweetness of dodging a bullet, she murmured, "It was just so sudden."

Obviously, she was looking to tangle. She needed the drama, I guess. And when someone throws down the gauntlet like that, you cannot with impunity ignore it. Your honor is at stake.

"Hold on a minute," I said. "What do you mean, 'it was just so sudden?'"

"I mean, it was unexpected."

"I'm sorry, but I couldn't have heard you correctly. Did you just say that the only absolute eventuality since the dawn of time was unexpected?"

"I didn't--"

"Did you miss the fact that 100% of the people who have been born on this earth have died, most of them at random junctures or in coincidental circumstances?"

"It wasn't that--"

"How DARE YOU? How dare you claim the responsibilities and trappings of adulthood and slather them all over with the sickly sweet frosting of infantile expectations! How dare you come in here asking to exchange the basest emotional childishness for sympathy! I mean COME ON!"

Naturally, she was speechless. "Probably can't find the words to thank me," I was thinking. I had just offered her exactly the hystrionics she had been seeking. Or if not, at least I had given her some simple facts that should have, in my mind, taken the edge off her so-called loss.

My lawyers have instructed me not to describe in any way what happened next. But suffice it to say, I was wrong.

3 commentaires:

dwainfisher6648802170 a dit...
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kirstie a dit...

You are such a warm-hearted creature Scott. Creature being the key word. Actually, I applaud your thoughts (and I know you did not really say those things outloud -- right?!?).

Our society makes people think that things should last forever, along with believing in instant gratification and having a deserving attitude.

But once one can rise above all that nonsense, one can learn to live, not in fear of death, but just really live for what it is worth at the moment.

kirstie a dit...

Rethought:

Sometimes I wish I didn't have kids so that I could die. But I can't because I know that these three souls, wrapped in a physical being, need me, count on me, cling to me.

When a person needs another person (actually let themselves need another person), if that person leaves, no matter what promise of another future holds, they leave a hole in that person's existing life.

Sure that hole can be filled in over time, but it slowly sifts in and still it leaves a dimple -- forever a dimple in this life -- and this life is all we have right now.

You can never get this second back, or the second that just past. You will never have that to do over. How do you want to spend the tiny amount of time you have in this life? Embittered? Beholdend?