Carl

I made someone cry today. In the middle of Starbucks. Personally, I hate crying in public and the fact that I put someone through that seems a little heavy. It started because I needed to plug in next to him, and we ended up sharing a table. He told me he liked my nose, but it was probably just because it was a nose that looked like his. 

I know what you are thinking – He’s hitting on her. He’s a psychopath. She’s naive. She doesn’t understand dynamics of men and women. She thinks this is neutral. She’s too trusting. He’s too open. Well let me address this before I continue – to a certain degree yes to all of these. But there is a grey area in between where, if no one is doing harm to the other, real conversation can happen between strangers. 

If for whatever reason, you feel safe opening up to someone and know in your heart they won’t take advantage? Do it. Practice vulnerability and magical things will happen. 

I mean, come on people, you fell for that black and white video of strangers making out, but someone chokes up in a Starbucks in front of a stranger for a real reason, and you are skeptics? Read on. 

Today is the anniversary of Carl’s father’s death. Carl’s father was the pastor, he his son. Carl’s father was hard on him, in his own way, he tried to show love. Carl would disobey, try to change his father’s mind and his dad wouldn’t change. My nose was his father’s nose – the Norwegian (yes, I am half Norwegian) nose that he recognized but couldn’t talk to…it was something he wasn’t expecting.

Nor was I. 

I never know what to say in these situations. I’m not a therapist, guru or advice columnist. Earlier today, a religious group knocked on my door and asked me to consider if money was the root of all evil, and if I would be willing to look at pamphlets. The unemployed sass monster in me wanted to tell them that if they had any evil lying around, I would put it to good use. But I don’t want to hate on people who feel so much joy in something they feel bound to share, so I politely told them I wasn’t willing to listen today. 

I NEVER want to be one of those people who forces their lifestyle or beliefs on others. I don’t want to pretend like I know the answer to everything, because like our conversation life seems to exist in a grey area of right, wrong, intimacy and truth. I don’t want to pretend like my answer to how I deal with problems is the universal answer, the universal healer. Because I don’t think what works for me works for everyone else. 

So I told him what I was feeling. Lucky, because I have two parents who are still alive and healthy. Blessed, because I know people who, right now who are setting an example of how to be a solid partner when someone goes through times of grief.  And I told him he should go home, tell his wife a sincere and truthful compliment because of all the sincere truths that his father gave him. In honor of the relationships lost, he should value the relationships present and blossoming. 

Carl didn’t seem too convinced. I texted a therapist friend of mine and asked how much I should charge him. She told me to bill him $100.00 an hour or repo his car. As an unlicensed solicitor of free advice, that just doesn’t feel right. But still, we live in a grey area.

May your day be filled with random connections that open your eyes. May you open up to someone and say what you need to say. May what you do to feel good be shared in a way that doesn’t limit, but open everyone’s pathways to kindness. May what you do to feel grounded and safe allow you to make positive changes in yourself and the lives of others. May you find ways to connect to people that you never thought possible. May you live through change. May you be at peace.

Sat Nam 

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