24 by what?

In the continuing Sea of Confusion I’m sailing through, someone asked me the above question about the yurt.  They first asked how I liked living in “the hut”.  Accustomed as I am to saying YURT over and over, since people continue to call it “a urt”, which drives me bananas,  I murmured the words its a yurt.  Then, we wanted to know size.  So, I said, it’s a 24 foot diameter yurt.  This elicited, as mentioned, the above question, and I admit I panicked a bit. I looked at the Partner for help and he studiously attended to his fingernails.  I tried to freeze my face into a composed, pleasant smile while I wondered how to answer that and not seem insulting or peremptory.  Uh..it’s a circle.  It’s round. It’s not an x by x measurement- that would be a square or rectangle. So? What size is it?  What by what?  As I pondered the fact that while I used to know how to find circumference and diameter and don’t now, I also thought about how it can be that someone doesn’t understand the concept of ROUND at all, period.

There’s a lot of that, we might say, going around.  Some of it can be attributed to the fact that people don’t always listen.  And who can blame them?  There’s a good deal of disagreeable stuff to hear out there.  In this particular case, it was more a case of inability to listen and understand, period, so kindness was appropriate.   When, however, people only listen to THEMSELVES when they speak, perhaps some sort of chastisement can be apportioned.  Still working through this question after all these years!  But really.  One should observe and draw one’s inferences and conclusions therefrom.  Not the other way around- where there’s an inferred pattern and everything must fit into it or be found defective, all dwellings are square, my deity runs everything, we’re in total control.    The demarcations laid out about what will, and what will not, come into a person’s field of understanding are becoming more visible every day and it is sometimes hard to know how to pass through them.  Sometimes people don’t understand what you’re saying when it’s vital that they do.  Like a police officer or a doctor.  Or a politician.  Those can be situations where cutting your losses and getting out of Dodge to a more enlightened place is the best answer- possible, we don’t always know.  Other times, people don’t understand what’s being said because they really don’t want to.  Their reality cannot be safely challenged, and if you do challenge it, you get nowhere fast. It’s their way, their view, period.  There simply isn’t anything else, even though one may be standing right there nose to nose.  You don’t exist on some level.

So I’ve decided to, for now at least, abandon detente as my global strategy.  An old habit to keep some sort of order among the warring experiences of my existence, it’s time for it to retire.  This ought to be really interesting- total honesty in the moment and no misplaced placatory efforts.  None.  If someone isn’t happy, they’re going to get to work it out themselves unless I’ve had (another) attack of ham hands or something and have to grovel in mortification.    Neutrality and hammered out agreements in oppositional situations, no appeasement if there is no agreement- in short, we’re not just automatically going to do it your way all the time any more.  Unfailing politeness will also be a goal.  After all! I didn’t flip anyone off that day I went downtown and everyone, in sequence and exponentially, was out of their mind.  I did tell one guy he was a supersized asshole, as I mentioned at the time, but that was under extraordinary provocation.  I do believe that civility goes a long way in any situation.   You can still say what you want.  It’s just that often I don’t in interpersonal situations.  I can write a HELL of a letter to my congressman, but it is harder to deal with an insinuation, an insult from someone I know.  But, as a Turkish friend once told me, sometimes you have to show your teeth.  The Partner considers those words to live by so I’m sure he will be Most Relieved to see me practicing at long last.  Balancing that tooth baring with non-violent approaches has preoccupied me for a while- it just wasn’t something I ever learned how to do.  I suppose you could say I was a proponent of “peace at any price” for some time.  Not, I think, any more.

We’ll see how this next step goes.  It sounds like something may have been learned at long last, but you never know. It may be a bit scary really and truly not worrying about whether others approve, or understand, or like things.  But I think it’s time to…just Be.  We are, indeed, here to help each other and be kind.  But as even the Buddha said, there is no need to take abuse- in fact that doesn’t ever help anybody.

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