30 August 2009

Heat


Donovan and I had our first heated discussion last night. The morning after, I am drinking coffee and smoking pot and reflecting...
  • what a strange night! The walls of the house became radioactive with reflected, bouncing red light about midnight. I stepped out on the front porch to investigate and found a fire truck, paramedics van and ambulance truck parked in the street with motors running. Two men in white unloaded a gurney from the paramedic van and rolled it to the foot of the porch stairs of 820. Except for the crisis lights strobing on each vehicle, the street was as quiet as church.
  • A few hours later I stepped out back for a cigarette and wondered again why rainstorms happen so rarely after dark in New Orleans. Half an hour later the thunder and lightning started. It rained very hard for about two minutes.
  • If I wasn't me and I was reading the story of my life, I wonder if I'd read all the way to the end. The story line swings between only two poles: mundane merriment and vapid abstraction.
I don't like heated discussions.

That's not true. I don't like heated discussions with people who are as insecure or more insecure than I am.

I remember now that the training I took in Essential Problem Solving Skills gave conflict resolution short shrift. I need some training in how to defuse a charged situation; specifically, how to ratchet down the emotional flares in myself and the other person. It's hard to think, i.e., negotiate, listen, respond, consider, when emotions are running high.

The aftermath of un-defused heated discussion is never pleasant. What's possible after two people face off, hurling molten emotion at each other? What's possible if either of them does not at some point choose to shut up, take a breath and listen? If only one person does this, where can the discussion go?

This morning I'm gone to where I often go after a heated discussion: a whimpering resoluteness that I will not trust again, will not open again, will not share anything or accept anything ever again. I can only trust myself to listen to me and understand me. No one loves me like I love me.

I don't like this place. I don't like that an exchange with another human can lead me to embrace attitudes that I normally abhor. Even though I know it's only temporary--that before I know it I will revert to form, become myself again (it's inescapable, this return to myself)--it is messy and uncomfortable in this moment.

It's times like these I'm almost drawn to sit meditation. But I rarely succumb.

Usually, I start writing.



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