HTSS: Day Three, Why I Hate the Third Person

6:23pm "Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb."

My husband was right. The third day has been hard. Not physically as hard as last Friday, when I was actually still smoking. But hard. And hot. Not as hot here in Chicago as elsewhere in the country, but hot enough to overwhelm both the window units and the dog. She's been a rug most of the day. I've just been a basket case.

The day started well: a walk through our neighborhood with one of my friends from church and her dog. We've done this once a week for several mornings now. Today we went north of 47th, into a part of the neighborhood I had never even driven through, never mind walked. Lots of workmen said hello to us, and we noticed how many houses have been renovated or rebuilt. But would we feel comfortable living there, just a few blocks from where we live now? Ah, the tensions of urban life!

I had a good breakfast when I got home, then looked to answer a few emails. And got in trouble. Big trouble. Trouble so big I'm afraid I can't tell you about it because to do so would break one of my personal rules about not bringing gossip about others into my blog. But, oh, how I wanted to write about it, just to make myself feel better. Why don't I? After all, the person at the other end of the emails almost certainly doesn't read my blog. He'd never know. But others would. And maybe they'd tell him. And then....

So much depends on trust. So much depends on how we construct our walls of intimacy, what we share with whom, with whom we use the third person. I am so much more comfortable sticking with just the first two: "I" and "you." I like "I" and "you." I don't much care for "she" or "he." I don't like talking about "him" or "her." I don't want to know what you did with her or what he said to you. It makes me feel left out, and I hate that. Using the third person smacks of secrets and lies, things best left unsaid. Except when they are things that should have been said to me. Then I want to know.

When is talking behind someone's back a sign of caring and when is it meddling? When is wanting to know how someone is doing after a period of illness or stress appropriate and when is it bringing up bad memories better forgotten? When is it okay to ask after another's well-being indirectly and when is it better simply not to ask at all? Is it concern or cowardice to ask in the third person? Gossip or good-will?

There are so many things going on in my life right now that I would like to talk with you about. Maybe you would be able to help me. Maybe you would just sympathize, and that would make me feel better, too. But I can't. Which is one of the reasons I started smoking again in the first place: I was speechless with rage. I was trying to wait to quit until after the peak of the crisis had passed, but perhaps I was kidding myself. There will always be crises like today's that make me want to light up and feel calmer again. Somehow I'm going to have to learn to do it again without the nicotine. Not that I'm sure I ever actually did; I just wasn't smoking. Sigh.

Comments

  1. Esperance Fencing Bear. I'm rooting for you in your bout with nicotine. Among many other things, it'll help your fencing. Stay on your toes and keep out of distance as my coach says. With regard to gossip, I'm reminded of Castor's good and gracious behavior when he realized the identity of the Ill-Made Knight, which may or may not be pertinent to your situation. Good luck.

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  2. Thanks, Thomas! The terrible irony with respect to my fencing is that I fenced better this summer having a smoke before the event than I ever had before. Not a sustainable strategy, I'm afraid. And now my husband, reading over my shoulder, points out that maybe I would have fenced even better last month without the cigarettes. Who knows?

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