Ever since my sister and I had identical accidents--we were both stopped on the road, waiting to start again, when we were driven into from behind--I am afraid of other cars. They glide through stop signs; dart out of parking lots, stopping just short of the white line that separates me from them; and if they're good enough to stop, they start pulling onto the road before I've passed them. They go through yellow lights and red lights with more force than green. They scare me.
I have a solution. An optical illusion that makes the back of my car look three feet longer. That way when people slam on their brakes because I have decided to stop at a red light, they won't hit me. They'll hit the illusion. The illusion will be bright yellow or red. And maybe flashing. It will be tall. And possibly fierce looking. It will also make my car look wider--like one of those RVs with maps of the US on the side, pulling a Jeep behind it--so that those pesky cars that usually pull out of lots before I've passed, will stop. (And more importantly, I'll be 99% sure of it, bringing me 99% peace of mind.) That's my solution.
* * *
I've been thinking about relationships, and the invisible grid that underlays each. When we really like someone--spouse, boy/girlfriend, family member, friend, co-worker, neighbor--we enjoy idiosyncrasy (or overlook it), we enjoy difference (or ignore it), and we appreciate the fact that this person is an individual, with all the richness individuality brings. When the relationship shifts to the other side of the grid, idiosyncrasy annoys, difference frustrates, and we'd rather not be around this particular individual.
Sometimes the relationship shifts, because someone changes--becomes more self-absorbed, more devoted to a particular cause, or interested in appearing/being different that what he/she once was. Sometimes, it is because there is hurt, most often caused unintentionally, that festers. In all cases, it is a choice, deliberately made or more subtle and imperceptible in its building.
And building is what it does. It grows into something, because no one took the time to notice it, identify it, call it out for what it was. They didn't use the tools--communication and forgiveness and love--to get rid of it, because they didn't have the time, the awareness, or the interest to spend on this side of the grid, the side where the relationship no longer matters.
I understand what happens with the grid, but still, I like to think that all relationships matter.
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