a full deck & bad metaphors


Later this month, I will already have lived in my house for seven years, which feels impossible. Coupled with the two years before that that I lived in Norway, I have already been in Norway/Sweden for longer than the entire period I spent living in Iceland, but somehow the Iceland period felt so much longer. How is it that I so often feel like I just got to Sweden, when in fact I have been there for ages – almost the longest I have been in one place since adulthood began?

On an entirely different note, it’s strange how people’s personalities and realities unfold to others with time.We might really connect with someone immediately when we meet them, and this can (partly) stymie our ability to really see them – to see the full deck of cards fanned out rather than being dazzled by a few face cards, hiding all the trumps and jokers. Or at least we don’t know that a couple of cards are missing at first. We will see them later. Not intentional hiding, of course – it is just, you know, a full deck of cards has a lot of cards. You’re not going to see every card right away. The most forthright, honest and open person still is not going to have an opportunity or reason to share every single thing immediately – some things they would never even think to share, other things don’t come up until something triggers them. And then it is a whole new hand dealt each time.

I don’t at all doubt the reality of instant reactions to people we meet – like the instant hatred/dislike, the instant connection with someone remarkable (this does not need to be romantic), the love at first sight, the whatever-inexplicable-alchemy that makes people click. But I also do not doubt – and do appreciate – the occasional feet-on-ground reminders of why, despite my love for spontaneous action, we should not jump in and do mad things and make mad declarations too soon. For someone like me, that temptation is great at times. I have tiny, split-second misfirings in the brain sometimes, admiring people for doing things like meeting and getting married in a week (or thinking how fun it would be to go to work on a Monday, announcing with no fanfare at all that I had gotten married or something similarly dramatic, after having had no plan to do so on the previous Friday). But I have also seen these pseudo-admirable risks fail on a grand and destructive scale (of course they do!) and have been around the block enough times to know that it’s a monumentally bad idea. Particularly if you’re going with this blind, trusting-the-gut, instant ramen feeling (you know, it’s warm, it’s filling, it’s quick and sort of delicious for a few bites. But it cools off and kind of congeals, starts to taste unpleasant, oversalted and then just toxic. Bad idea. Unhealthy. Just like an instant wedding! I used wedding/marriage because it is the most instant and dramatic thing I can think of that involves following the heart over the logical mind but there are undoubtedly other things… buying big-ticket items, moving to another country without thinking it through?).

I quickly return to my senses; I have never bothered to gamble.

Photo (c) 2012 Ivette de la Garza