Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Life In Exile: I'm Burnin', I'm Burnin', I'm Burnin'.... for peace

I believe in not burning bridges. It's because I'm always thinking about the nuclear winter. So, I go to personal, at times stressful, extremes to get along with Difficult People (DPs for short).

Disclaimer: If I know you, and you are reading this blog, then by the nature of this very reading, you are not (most probably) a DP and are therefore NOT ALLOWED (notice that is in caps, that means I mean it) to think I am writing about you.

I know Oprah and modern pop psychology are always exhorting us to stand up for ourselves. But I don't always do what Oprah says, and so sometimes I become a doormat, just to keep the peace. Because slashing and burning a relationship - no matter what its nature, is frankly, painful.

And that nuclear winter scenario thing. I'm always picturing the seeming inevitability of burning a bridge and then being stuck in a service elevator that no one uses anymore with that person. Or in a blizzard, with no cell phone reception, day three and no one knows where we are, and the person with the last morsel of food is that person I screamed at and called a wanker in front of the entire Board last week... or something.

Makes me wonder, you always hear about people who have lived at extremes of some idea - the uber-conservative who became a radical liberal. The free love hippy who became a fundamentalist. Between extremes must be the still smoldering ashes of vilification.

See, in order to legitimize oneself in one extreme after having lived in another, one would basically have to badmouth the hand that fed them. It's got to be cool, though. I mean what more street cred would one need! "I've been there, man and they are wack". No doubt that kind of cred would hold the flock in rapt awe, "He's been there, he knows they are wack". Would make one kind of a rock star... if you raked your former self over the coals to win friends and influence people. The evil side of self-deprecation?

It is akin to talking smack about an ex-boyfriend right after he broke up with you. There is an instant gratification in announcing, "Well, I always knew he was an asshole". Aside from the logical next question, "Well what the hell were you doing with him then?", you are sort of being extremely judgmental.

On those occasions where I have burned a bridge I have felt a momentary superiority. But it led to the inevitable vindictive-high crash of reality. I just sort of felt, well, gross... inside... Would a vegetarian fault the grizzly bear because he ate the salmon? (Well, maybe a vegan would) All the while I would have been bad mouthing, vilifying, entertaining whatever supportive audience with stories of misbehavior and my innocence, I would be completely ignoring the fact which is, who the hell am I to judge? Yes, that bridge may be shoddily built and deserve to fall, but should I set the match? And wouldn't that possibly put me in line for arson charges?

It occurs to me that I have been potty mouthing my beautiful prison here in the desert and I am here to apologize desert. Whilst I have been complaining about what you did not possess I have been ignoring your wonderful qualities. I promise to stop being a wanker and get my head out of my ass and pay more attention to reality, you are pretty. You are a nice place to live. And if I pay attention I won't be bored anymore (oh, man, see I knew I should never have started saying that to my kids - "If you're bored you're not paying attention" - I should have known it would come back to bite me in the ass!)