Sunday, March 19, 2006

Bull in a China Shop

“Mercury is in retrograde,” an older, wiser friend explained to me. “Everything about communication goes in the crapper when that happens.”

I was talking to her about a friend I’d managed to offend the day before. The friend had come to me for some bolstering and instead of listening for what she needed from me, I launched into my counselor/fix-it mode. Great when someone asks for advice. Not so great when all someone needs is a hug.

“I don’t know if you believe in that stuff or not,” she continued, peering at me over her hipster reading glasses. “All is know is over my whole life when things go wrong in communication and friendships it’s turned out that Mercury was in retrograde. Do with that what you will.”
I found my friend and apologized to her for bulldozing her over with advice.

I hate to chalk miscommunications up to planetary alignment. That takes the responsibility out of speaking. But dang if Mercury isn’t retrograding all over my world right now.

I’m the first to admit I shoot my mouth off and am sometimes naive of the consequences. My dad always says that discretion is the better part of valor. An admirable and elegant statement and code of conduct. I try it sometimes. You probably wouldn’t know it.

The week wasn’t even over before a miscommunication with another friend spiraled out of control and I was hurt. Now when this happens I try to chill and never react in anger because I know it never turns out well. With time, things usually shift. My personal kaleidoscope view of life tumbles on itself and things have a different light. As mom says: let the English spin off the ball.

But no. I shot my mouth off. Got more caught up in defending my position that trying to understand hers. The parents’ voices in my head said “you’ll regret this later.” I think Mercury stuffed plugs in my ears. Like that bull in the china shop, I’d charged ahead, breaking lines of communication and threads of trust along the way. By forcing my position on my friend, I’d put the responsibility to mend the rift on her.

Waking up at three this morning from nightmares about drowning with no one to throw me a lifeline, it dawned on me that her upset was the mirror image of mine and suddenly I got what hurt she was going through because I was there too. And worse, I got that I caused it. Thankfully, I found a big mop of apology to clean up my mess.

Despite a few days of stomach knots, I can’t really say I regret it all. First because I don’t believe regret is a useful concept. Second, lessons learned always add value to life and storms weathered strengthen friendships. But I do think that next time I’ll try to take a deep breath and remember mom’s advice: let the English spin off the ball.

On my way out of town today, I stopped by the celestially wise lady’s shop.

“Dude. I’m all for life lessons but when is Mercury rising or whatever it’s supposed to do next?”

“I have no idea,” she told me with a weary eye roll. “But I’ve certainly had better days. I hope it comes out of retrograde soon.”

Ditto, sister.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Darling, it comes out on the 25th. Assuming, you are still speaking to your father, you can't mess any more friendships up this cycle. :-)

2:13 PM  
Blogger Kid Sis said...

Dude are you SURE it's out of retrograde?

Things are still sucking, and my car is dead.

4:27 PM  

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