Sunday, January 20, 2008

Give Me Back My Caterpillar

Last night I watched “Away From Her”, a bittersweet film steeped in unconditional love, betrayal, and the process of letting go.

In speaking with 2 close friends earlier in the day, I mentioned my evening plan – nesting with Gracie on a cold city night, my DVD loaded and ready. One replied: “have tissues at your side from the get-go”, while the other advised me to forego the tears and save a tree. In the end, I found the piece moving throughout, but shed tears only in the final moments.

This set of behavioral expectations is of interest to me. .. diverse reactions to identical input. And more specifically, the honest belief that we know how another will respond to a particular event. Of course in the Bigger Picture, my reaction to anything doesn’t quite make it to the cover of a newsstand magazine (for the moment). But the thought that I might predict the response of those close to me sets buzzers off in my head, reminiscent of 60’s game shows.


If your friend were stood up for a 2nd date, she would:

a. Eat a box of Oreos in bed while watching “Casablanca”.

b. Cry into the night, having already planned the wedding.

c. Change into her most adorable outfit and skip off to her local karaoke bar.

d. Settle in and pick up her favorite Jane Austen novel.

The truth is, I have no idea.

The time required for me to relinquish a present disappointment is likely connected to whatever’s going on in that fluid place inside the lighthouse of letting go.

If my best childhood friend ran off into the night with my favorite toy tractor in tow, I might feel a twinge when asked to share my grown-up toys. Once I am aware of that relationship, I can allow it to heal, and move on. Sure I loved my tractor, sure I “hated” my friend, but there’s no way Caterpillar or ancient history will dictate my thoughts and behavior now.

So, I provided my friends with a tiny surprise this week-end…how refreshing to be somewhat unpredictable.