A couple of weeks ago on a Tuesday, Ann Marie and I spent an enjoyable but somewhat grueling day looking for a jacket for my CPE (clinical pastoral education) interviews. That is, being with Ann Marie was excellent, while shopping, as always, was horrible. We went to Nordstrom Rack and to Ross, then to lunch at Ananda Fuara, then to Goodwill. I bought a beautiful jacket at Nordstrom Rack that needed to be taken in a bit, in my opinion. However, in the opinion of the alterations lady I took it to a couple of days later, it was simply the wrong size, so it was back to the drawing board.
The day after shopping, I have no idea what I did. Almost every single thing in my calendar has an X by it, meaning that I didn’t do it. It appears that it took me all day to recycle some cans and to telephone my cat sitter.
On Thursday I volunteered at the soup kitchen and had my weekly phone date with Margaux, who is also in a career transition. That evening, F. and I had a horrible interaction on the phone and I hung up on him for the first time ever. A bit later, he hung up on me for the first time ever.
Fortunately, I already had an appointment scheduled on Friday with my mental health professional. I was going to tell her about losing my job, but didn’t get around to that. We spent the whole 50 minutes talking about F., who had said something really quite hurtful. Deborah said he’s figured out this is an area where he can effectively take a jab at me. I asked if I should not let him get a rise out of me, but she said no, no, no—she advocates being authentic, not pretending that we aren’t hurt.
When I got home, I called F. to see about having a talk. He thought it would be better to do in person, and suggested that he come over in the late afternoon. I was planning to announce to him what he’d better never do again and what the consequences of doing so would be. I felt anxious and upset, and was also feeling the effects of not having gotten much sleep the night before. It was a lousy afternoon.
It seemed inevitable that we were going to have our final fight. In fact, I was so sure we were going to break up that I cleaned my bathroom so I wouldn’t have to be newly single in a dirty bathroom, but then I had a brainstorm. I called to run my idea past him, and when he got here, instead of having a big fight, we sat face to face and took turns telling each other, “I would feel very loved if you would [do or not do this or that].” I even let him go first. After one of us spoke, the other would say what he or she had heard: “You would feel very loved if I were slower to react and didn’t immediately leap to negative conclusions.”
After that phase, which took probably ten minutes or less, we took turns telling each other, “I feel very loved when you … ” and also repeating those words back, giving the person the pleasure of saying, for instance, “You feel loved when I’m very quiet in the morning and careful not to wake you up.” In the first phase, we communicated in a tactful manner what we wish the other would do differently, and in the second phase, which was longer, we shared what we’re already doing well. The whole thing was extremely touching and we ended up feeling very close to each other.
Another good thing that happened that day was that my father told me on the phone that Ypsilanti had felt the Bern earlier that week when Sanders appeared at a place within half a mile of their house. They intended to go, but didn’t end up making it and were worried Bernie would be all alone and feel dissed. But in fact, parking lot after parking lot was full to overflowing, so Bernie was well received in Ypsilanti.
The next day, my walking friend and I took a long stroll, stopping for lunch at Ananda Fuara, where we had a wonderfully delicious pureed Hungarian mushroom soup, spaghetti with vegetarian sausage, garlic toast, and crispy potatoes. We liked everything and particularly thought the soup was superb, no pun intended. That day I noticed two particularly unwelcome casualties of Mission neighborhood gentrification: Majahual, the restaurant where Carlos and I went on our first date, and my own personal bike shop, Freewheel. My bike shop! Will these scoundrels stop at nothing?
After my walking friend and I parted, I went to Community Thrift, where they had many jackets. I found one that seemed perfect, except for a whitish stain in a rather unobtrusive location. I bought it and dropped it off at Wayne’s to be dry-cleaned. In the evening, F. and I had burritos by candlelight.