The other day I bumped into the ex-wife of an old journalist compatriot I haven’t seen in the last 25 years. Either one.
And she looked marvelous.
We had a long afternoon lunch.
Then we had a longer late nite dinner.
And then we had breakfast.
Damn! Now that’s what I’m talkin’ ‘bout.
Because besides that…(I know what you’re thinking. Shame on you.) what we mostly did was talk. Oh, we mentioned our pasts from time to time. But we didn’t dwell. We talked about what we do now, and figured on doing for the near future.
We were just two people that time hasn’t cruelly aged, but merely decorated. More importantly, we readily acknowledged that the past is never dead; Hell, it’s never past. And like two aging juveniles, there we were, slurping each other up – in so many words.
I am sharing this because I have long known that one of the shortest distances between two people is not merely sex, but being intimate. That is known as making love. And making love is all about communication.
We had never really known each other well. But we had points of commonality. We told stories. We imparted secrets. We weren’t married, so there was no need to tell lies.
You learn so much. Not only about each other, but about yourself. And I got to thinking that if two ordinary people who had figuratively walked into the same gin joint could learn so much in a few short hours (okay, it was 36) together, just think what all of those 535 folks in Congress – and the rest of us – could reap.
After all, we all share points in common. Such as: Family, budgets, children, haircuts, loves, regrets, insurance and schools. In sharing, matters are no longer abstract, but become as personal as a letter from the IRS.
And when I hear people like Lori (her real name) in tears talk of the heartbreak of raising her son stricken with the deadly disease of Crohns, I am thinking of my own son. Zakki was born with congenital heart, lung and a multiple of other looming fatal diseases. I never mentioned him, at the time, because I felt that this was Lori’s time to talk about that. And my time to listen.
Such as it was when that woman, Terri Schiavo, was dying – or among the living dead – a few years back in Florida. And our deleterious, ridiculous Washington camera-kissers made an ignominious circus of it. They made it seem she was the only one in the country suffering or dying or among the undead. The fact is we are all suffering and dying in pieces from one thing or another. But no one seems to be listening.
The whole time that Lori and I talked we didn’t catch up – we caught on to each other. Life is what it is. Comedy and tragedy are interchangeable. Most significantly, we must always be able to laugh until we cry.
I don’t know what, if anything, is going to develop from all this. But we found we did, indeed, like most people, have so much to impart and reveal. Life has its hardship, pains and pleasures – even if pleasure costs twice as much.
Most importantly we all, sooner or later, realize that G-d gives us burdens, but he also gives us shoulders.
It just seems to me that those Washington buffoons are sleeping with their mouths open so that they can get the first-word-in in the morning. To them, if you aren’t a dues-paying member of their fraternity you are an asshole.
It doesn’t get us anywhere. That is, if there is anywheres to go.
My dear ol’ bourbon sippin’ pappy saw through all this insanity when he, as a young businessman, was seated on an airplane, eons ago, next to a Muslim man. The man was explaining to the stewardess that he couldn’t eat pork. My father related that religious Jews didn’t eat pork either. Then they fell into all sorts of desultory conversation covering common points of religious interests, such as Moses, Mohammed and a monolithic god.
My father, between those omnipotent puffs on his omniscient corn cob pipe, said what he carried away from that conversation, was that if two strangers sit down and take the opportunity to converse, they’ll usually find out how much they have in common.
Today we don’t converse. We shout and shoot. We bark at each other in sound bites. We lie. We cheat. We steal.
We all do it. It’s the sad fate of being human. We keep repeating the audacity of our mistakes. The first time was tragic. Second time was farce. Now it’s nothing but a bloody gerbil wheel.
Someone has got to cross the aisle. It’s like going to a wedding and you don’t know if you are there for the bride or the groom. You don’t even know if you are family, friend or foe. All you know is that you want a seat at the reception; that is, the party. Because, really, the party is all you came for.
What Lori and I learned is that we are probably going to be fabulous friends from this day forward.
Now, I am not insisting that we all should take our clothes off to become fabulous friends.
Hmmm…. Of course, it couldn’t hurt.
And, in fact, it does help – even metaphorically, when you are naked. There’s no place to hide your secrets. There’s no place to cover your shame. There’s no place to try to disguise yourself as anything else than what you are.
You can’t be a staunch Republican or Democrat or Independent or a Tea-Party when all you’ve got to show for yourself is a birthday suit. What we can be is quite straight forward – sharing with one another not merely the matters we want to hear, but what matters we really need to know.
And that requires at least a little undressing.
Of course, when people are undressed – or undressing – it has been said, time and again, that they are listening very closely to their telltale hearts.
Ahh…the heart of communicating.
And dats yDrewIS on DIS penal colony.