Common sense vs. The Rules

Joey Garcia

Every Thursday, I go to a karaoke club with my friends. There’s a guy there that I really like. He is interested in me, as well. I asked him for his phone number, but then I didn’t call him. The next week, I saw him at the club, and I gave him my phone number, but he didn’t call me. I am a little confused as to what to do next. I was thinking about calling him. Everyone says that I shouldn’t, but I want to. Is it wrong for me to call him first?

Right and wrong? This question must be about (cue dramatic music) The Rules! I haven’t read the books, so all I have to offer is common sense. If you ask for someone’s phone number, you should have the courtesy, follow-through, courage, professionalism or respect to call. If you do not call, that action announces that you cannot be trusted. Who wants to begin a relationship on a foundation of mistrust?

It’s your responsibility to dial, because you asked for his number first. Apologize for not phoning when he initially provided his number. Be honest about why you didn’t call. For example: “I got really nervous, and then my mind started making up stories about how the guy should call first or make the first move! Isn’t that silly?” If he explains why he didn’t call you, that’s great. If he doesn’t, don’t try to elicit the information. Change the subject and enjoy the conversation. It’s likely that he was attracted to you but thought that asking for his number and not calling was flaky. By the way, how did it feel when he didn’t call? Remember, you inspired that same discomfort in him. The trick now is to stop playing games or risk creating a passive- aggressive relationship.

Having lost my mother in the recent past, I thought your response to the person who asked how to talk about death was excellent. You could do a major public service if you also suggested that people read about the dying experience. When I brought my mother home from a convalescent hospital to die, I had no idea what to expect. As you know, our society hides death and dying. As a consequence, most of us are strangers to the experience of watching someone die. I contacted a hospice program, and it was a great help. Then a friend lent me a book written by two hospice workers about the physical stages of dying. It provided understanding, which gave me the patience and hope I needed to give my mother what she needed before she died. Perhaps knowing how people die is of more immediate importance than what happens after they die.

Your wisdom is much appreciated. The release of attachment that we call “death” occurs on many more levels than caregivers generally acknowledge. Initiation into the biological process of dying is just one of the unexpected experiences of the journey. Your gentle advice is an important guide for others who are negotiating the psychological curve of companioning a loved one through death.

Meditation of the week
Consider the importance of accepting mystery. “Every why takes you farther and farther back,” said the wise man of the mountain in the charming animated film Kirikou and the Sorceress, which played recently at the Crest Theatre as part of the Black Independent Film Festival. Are you willing to release the need to have the answer to everything you want to know?

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