Monday, August 18, 2008

six in the city

The city of blogs, that is. I guess.

Good friggin' grief, pardon my language. Have you ever had a task that you thought would be short but you had an ominous feeling that it might be slightly less short than that, and it ended up taking the entire day? Well, neither have I. Nah, I kid, that was in fact my day today. Still, it was worth it, I think. Check out the neat-o results here. No, really, please check 'em out. When I promised that I would deliver this project on Monday I really had some time in mind when there would still be a significant portion of Monday left. Now it might as well be Tuesday, but it is still Monday, barely. I better at least finish this post before that changes.

Actually I did get my laundry done today as well. But it rained on me while I was, dare I say it, parading back and forth between the house and the machines. It has definitely been that kind of a day. Still, I did most of my grumbling on the other page, so I won't weigh this post down with more than what you've just read.

I don't have a lot to say or much story to tell this time around what with one thing and another, but I did do some thinking about communication today, which I'd like at least to get down in written form.

I'd already come to the conclusion that one of the strongest indicators of having a deep, meaningful and above all trusting relationship with someone is when you and that person are comfortable with silence. Everyone knows what it feels like when you're with someone, whether driving or sitting in a restaurant or what have you, and you feel that incredible pressure to say something, anything, just to break the silence, because the silence is tense and painful. I don't propose to delve into the psychology of why it feels that way, thank goodness. But just so I would expect that everyone is also familiar with being in the same situation with a loved one, be it family member or spouse or just close friend (I guess it doesn't have to be a loved one, but then again maybe it does), and there's no difficulty, no tension, no awkwardness. It's an amazing, wonderful feeling, the feeling of not having to put on any sort of show or prove anything (whoops, I guess I couldn't avoid it altogether).

What was new for me was the recent realization that the same thing applies during a conversation. Maybe it's just a spin-off of the same issue, but I think we're just as compelled, when listening, to demonstrate our existence, so to speak (heh). I'm referring to the noises we make when someone else is talking to us - the "mm-hmm"s, "huh"s and "oh, yeah?"s for which countless years of evolution are responsible. Maybe this is less clear cut than the other matter, but I'm pretty sure I feel a lot more comfortable just listening to someone with whom I'm completely comfortable than I do with the vast majority of people. This isn't to say that I never grunt when on the phone with my brother or never keep my yap shut while chatting with a new acquaintance, but I'm pretty sure I couldn't stay silent during the entirety of some casual friend telling me all about her day or some other such buddy sharing his problems.

Why is this? Probably it has to with validation, although for whose benefit isn't so clear. It might be that our affirmations are just that, a reminder that we are present, for our own benefit (you're not just talking to a wall, pal, I'm here). (On a practical level when you're in the midst of a telephone conversation you want to make sure the listener is there physically as well as mentally.) More likely is that we wish to demonstrate to the other person that we are in fact listening to them instead of thinking about how the latest book by Neil Gaimon just can't touch Neverwhere (perhaps it can, I don't know), which if so is ironic because it's just by such devices that people who like to wander mentally attempt to deceive the other person...and are often found out. Ignoring that last negative spin, I think it is likely a combination of both - a way for us to keep ourselves in the conversation in some capacity, which satisfies our ego, while at the same time comforting the speaker in case he or she is afraid we might not actually be listening; this last can be both selfish and selfless, depending on whether we've got an agenda with the speaker. Or maybe it's as simple as we just can't handle even one-sided silence with a stranger. I do know this - it is very nice to be silent once in a while, whether listening to another's speech or the silence itself. Close relationships are pretty sweet, as in great, as, some positive word that isn't slang or morphed by slang. You get the idea.

Alright, about thirty minutes for cranking out the further Heroic adventures of...oh, wait. Well, I won't use it all (yeah, right). Short but I hope good, (me caveman, I hope good!) I present:

Part Six

When Hero awoke he was oddly cheerful, despite the daunting prospect of descending that cliff face. In the morning light he examined the spear and was intrigued to discover lettering along the side. It said:


It was obvious to him that this was another cheap knock-off, seeing as how they had misspelled "dragon," but then the sword had proven to be useful enough, so he figured he wouldn't throw the spear away, at least until there was another Giant about. There was no doubt the counterfeiters had done an excellent job, though - the spear looked finely crafted indeed, its pole thick, the head mighty and even etched with designs of dragons and men in armor jumping about like jackrabbits. Strange, that. Still, it was time to get moving, and so Hero got moving, and approached the cliff edge.

Fortunately he was not afraid of heights, and peered into the depths with only a stoical sigh. the depths being very deep indeed. But his compulsion to tackle this broken land persisted, and so Hero grabbed the edge and flipped out into the abyss, swinging back and breaking his impact against the wall with his feet. All in all it was a pretty cool stunt, which was good because it was a hot day.

The climbing, or descending, or whatever, was easier than Hero had expected - though there were no handy vines or branches of any kind to provide grip and a welcome break from the visual monotony, there were jutting rocks and cracks a plenty, and he made good time, at least until the rock he was holding gave way and he plunged into free fall.

Well. These things happen, when your name is Hero. Hero kept his cool, which wasn't hard with the wind rushing past his face, and considered his options (remember, it was a very deep set of depths). He was sufficiently far from the wall to prevent any recovery unless there were suddenly an especially strong air current or a bird slammed into him or, more likely, a tree branch suddenly sprouted and grew many feet from the wall, right away.

As he dropped Hero moved to straighten his pants, proper grooming being important in all circumstances, and as he did his hand brushed his pocket. He was surprised to find it occupied, with a, that would be silly. Actually, lo and behold it was his pocketknife, which he had believed lost in the forest! Had it really been buried in his pocket the whole time? Hero considered this for a few minutes, and then decided maybe he'd better save himself before giving reign to more thoughts of this nature. So he deployed the grappling hook attachment, and within short order had lodged the hook in a large crevasse, and swung himself into a handily-positioned cave in the cliff face. Of course, momentum is not one to give up so easily and so he kept going and smacked into the wall in the back of the cave, anyway. Well, these things happen too, when you're this particular Hero.

When he had recovered from the usual daze, Hero looked up, and made the surprising discovery that the cave was occupied! Furthermore, there was someone else in it besides him!


to be continued...

Ha! Fifteen minutes to go. I want to apologize, by the way, if things are less articulate (or more articulate) than they ought to be, both here and on the other page - I guess the length of the day and the lateness of the hour has gotten to me in more ways than one. I'll be better next time, probably. By the way, I encourage you to take a look at this.

No comments: