The title of this post is modeled on Shakespeare's most famous soliloquy--"to be or not to be."
That line alone is sufficient argument against the split infinitive. Can you imagine Hamlet saying--to be or to not be?
The recent story I shared on the near catastrophic oven fire elicited from various friends their sharing of similar experiences. That got me to thinking. When you tell people about an event in your life, do they return likewise a story from their lives? And should they?
My dad, now 90, lives in a retirement village. Obviously, in their daily lives--whether walking, or collecting mail, or just generally being out and about--they encounter their fellow villagers. Of course, the customary and expected question is--how are you? My dad has told me that he sometimes ponders--do they really want to know?
I suspect we have all had such encounters--the innocent question someone poses to us right after we have experienced some pain, whether to body or soul. Of course they don't really want to know. Our response has to be tempered. But, if you are like me, we don't want to deny what we are going through either.
To share or not to share.
There are at least three ways a person can respond.
1) Say--I'm fine. And you? Not very satisfactory, when you are really hurting.
2) Say--Oh, I've been better. At least that nudges the door of conversation open a bit. If you are asked for more details, you can elaborate.
3) Say--well, I have just had surgery, and the stitches are beginning to pull. And the doctor said. . . About then your companion's eyes begin to glaze over.
And then there is the temptation to match detail for detail.
Oh, you are still recovering from your surgery. Say, did I tell you that I had a . . .
You totaled your car? Too bad. Hey, I had a. . .
On and on. Tit for tat.
I've known people like that. No matter what you had go wrong in your life, they always have a bigger, badder, more painful, more disastrous, far worse situation, illness, insult, accident--whatever--than you have had.
I appreciate hearing how our lives have shared experiences. People who had also experienced kitchen fires made me realize how fortunate we were that nothing serious really happened. People who share their life circumstances help to reduce the sense of isolation I can feel when I may be sick, or experiencing some difficultly. We do well to remind ourselves that we are not the only ones who have ever suffered from whatever circumstance comes our way.
Well, thanks for letting me share. Any words of wisdom on how to handle this conversational dance?
Today marks the anniversary of three years of blogging. I can't think of a more fitting topic for the three year blog anniversary than sharing.
know that I posted the 400th blog about a month ago, and I don't mean to overdo the anniversary thing. But, I found this cute widget on someone else's blog, and it keeps track of blogging anniversaries.