Saturday, September 14, 2013

Planks.

I love those random conversations that one has with people they hardly know.

I had one of those today.

She talked about disappointing a friend- and the analogy she used was marvelous.

She said that it was like she was building a bridge across a ravine for her friend to cross over. Carefully placing planks in front of her feet for her to step on. Until she was bumped, and stumbled and missed a plank. And her friend stepped on emptiness- and fell.

And it wasn’t because she wasn’t willing to replace it, but because- for a moment- she didn’t have a good grasp. She was willing to crawl back up and restore the footing- but it was too late. And now her friend was hurt that that solid ground that she counted on wasn’t there. And now that trust was broken.

Believe me, I’ve been there- on both ends.

Counting on someone else to be that sure footing.

And being the one responsible for placing the planks.

I’ve repeated this scenario over and over in my life. And honestly, they both suck.

But it’s not because I don’t want to trust.

And it’s not because I am not trustworthy.

It’s because ultimately- someone will fail. Or disappoint. Or just not be there. 

It is inevitable.  

We (I) try to be superhuman. And I have tried to build that bridge myself.

 I still do.

 All.

The.

Time.

And I fail. We all do.

And failing really bites. 

And as I thought about this conversation later in the day, I wondered about who really owns the placing of planks.

Maybe it’s not just one person’s sole responsibility to be ‘plankworthy.’

Maybe if both friends had a firm grasp on one end of each plank- then when one stumbled (as will always happen)- maybe the fall would be only a momentary stagger.

And of course, I’m not that na├»ve. Sometimes, there needs to be one who is stronger. One who takes over the bridge building for a time. A moment. Placing a few extra planks.  

It seems so simple, right?

And if it were, we all would have gotten it right. I would have gotten it right.

But it is. 

So complicatedly impossibly simple. 

To have faith that there is a dual grasp.  

To walk up and over this life with another person- friend or partner or child- knowing that each is strong enough to hold an end.

Knowing that bridges and ravines will be there.

And that there will always be a need for the placing of planks. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Just like teeth.

I've been thinking a lot about teeth lately.

Probably because I started doing Invisilign about 11 weeks ago- and I have this consistent reminder- right smack in my mouth.

Both of my sisters had 'real' braces when they were young. I was always a little jealous. Me? I was given a Popsicle stick and told to bite down on it to correct this one tooth that was a bit out of sorts.

It didn't work.

I have these top teeth that keep getting chipped. My dentist has filed them down a few times, but they still rub on the lowers and keep chipping. No one even notices. I do. I think I look like bugs bunny.

And my lower teeth are crowded. Not hugely. But enough.

It's pure vanity. I know this. Whatever.

So here I am 1/2 way into the treatment. And they are mostly a pain in the ass. My mouth is constantly dry, and I have a slight lisp.

When I first started, I (of course), decided that I was going to cut the entire treatment in half. My teeth would move at breakneck speed. I would wear the shit out of these things. The dentist said that you need to wear them 22 hours a day. I would wear them for 23.5 hours- only removing to eat solid stuff.

My dentist would be astounded and amazed. If anyone could do this, I could, right?

Yeah- not so much.

First- teeth are slow movers. Trying to move up to the next set of trays too early- well- just hurts.

Second- only taking them out for solid food is a really really bad idea. With my penchant for drinking coffee and red wine, they just get stained really fast. And no amount of brushing/peroxide/denture cleaner will clear it up. And oh golly do they start to smell. I'm talking bottom of a birdcage stink here. It's just plain nasty.

Third- don't even try to take a photo with these things in. I made the mistake of retaking my driver's licence picture and ended up looking a little like a serial killer.

And finally- no matter how hard you bite down on them, you won't get any faster results. My first two sets were totally shredded. My dentist hadn't seen this phenomenon before.

Leave it to me.

Of course there's a lesson here. There are several.

Life can be a slow mover. Trying to force along at breakneck speed just plain hurts. A lot.

Sometimes it is all bottom of a birdcage stink. Taking a break to drink coffee or a nice glass of red wine is a good thing.

And the serial killer look isn't exactly ideal.

And, of course- sometimes life just shreds you. At least for the first couple of rounds. But you learn to not bite down so hard, and relax your jaw- and your soul.

Yep- it is, after all, just like teeth.