Monday, April 27, 2009

Dirty Laundry

The joke is that because there is no TV on the commune, we create our own soap operas. Even if the proposed origin is incorrect, we certainly have a propensity to rumble emotionally within the bounds of our intense experiment.

Hawina and i have been doing mediation's are a party which went out of control some months back, and the most recent one we did, i was quite worried about. I was afraid because i had worked with both of the people we were mediating with before on romantic relationships stuff and while i care for both of them deeply, i knew that they can both be hard headed and also that the stakes were quite high for this mediation. If we blew it, the cost of failure could potentially be quite high - derailing our hopes of resolving the issues in a one on one basis and instead going to a community level feedback, which would even more certainly go badly.

On top of this, when i had talked to my friend who is aptly named after a volcano goddess a couple of days before the mediation about my concerns, we had ended up spiraling out of control and screaming at each other. Which is pretty rare for me.

And it worked out well, better than well actually it was something of a breakthru. Hawina and i were good, but we never would have made it were it not for the somewhat uncharacteristic vulnerability and compassion of the two people in dialog brought with them.

We went for two hours, voices got raised slightly, but overall everyone kept it under control. What Hawina is good at is getting people to take responsibility for their part of the problem. And in this case that was at the core of the disconnect. And we got there. Having worked on this for some months now, we heard new things in the mediation, self reflections which change the nature of the conversation and make more be possible.

And i realized as i came out of the mediation that this is still some of my favorite work. Helping people communicate, move thru obstacles and mend splits in the community. And especially when we succeed, i am proud of the entire operation. It was a good day for understanding and compassion.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Midnight follies

Amanda had an amazing b-day party and i stayed for as long as i could. Which meant i was showing up in Jamaica Plain after midnight. Bonnie had agreed to let me stay with her, despite me again having offered to visit this weekend when i was in town last time and then rudely blowing her off.

i had called just before 11, She said she was working a long day the next day, so she would not be very animated company. She gave me the combination lock number and said she would unlock the door to her apartment up this pseudo fire escape. My ride from Amanda's party in Gloucester took longer than expected and when i finally arrived, decoded the door and braved my way up this cluttered, darkened stairs i made it to her kitchen and i decided it was not fair to climb into bed with her, only to wake her up 3 hours later so i could make my connection.

So i went to sleep in the living room on the new couch.

Just as i was about to crash out, Bonnie's flat mates started crashing around in the kitchen. i had never met them before, but i knew they were nice and had a little baby. So i stay in the living room on the couch and no one sees me, no need for awkward introductions. they go to bed, i doze off.

2 AM bonnie calls "Where are you?"
"i am in your living room"
"i was expecting you and could not sleep, come to my room"

so i walk thru the dining room, thru her little dining room, past the bathroom and open the door to Bonnie's room - which is a kids room. i am in the wrong apartment.

just as i realize this my cell buzzes "you're not in my living room" Bonnie informs me of the thought already pounding thru my head as i bound up the fire escape steps.

I thought the couches looked different. ...

Sunday, April 5, 2009

nyc glimpses

i went to visit the curious and eclectic jade netanya beside central park on my way to amandables b-day bash. i found the most charming cafe right beside her house which is called Alice's Tea Cup.

But there was a surreal moment when we drove to jade's synagogue and i ended up across Amsterdam avenue waiting for traffic to pass to catch an open parking space. i crossed and started to back into a space and there was another car which had come later, but was on the right side of the street which had also stopped for the space.

As we backed up into the space he pulled up beside us and expressed his displeasure.

"we were here first" Jade informed him, "we were just on the other side of the street"
"you cant wait on the wrong side and then claim a space" he said with a measured city upset.
there was a moment of silence, i did not pretend to know the nyc street etiquette in this type of situation - jade had already been teasing me about my contry bumpkin ways - cautiously crossing streets, inability to hail cabs effectively, etc. And i was aware that it was quite a good spot for us, close to where we were going and we were basicaly int he spot already at this point.
"you can have it" jade said to the guy, in her generous spirited way
"nahh" he said "you gave it up to easily, you are freaking me out."

this really spun me around. as he drove away i was trying to figure out what was going on in his head. was he looking for a confrontation and we did not provide it? was he afraid that if we left and he parked there we would come back and do something to his car ?

i realized that jade's chiding about my lack of city skills also came with a legitimate critique of lack of understanding of this alien cultue.