Conflict resolution: Lessons in the dark

Dear Chris,

Thanks, Bro. I cannot WAIT to receive the painting… and I’m with you… cheapest is good, because they’ll still deliver it. Sometimes they’re like, “If you want me to wear my lilac tie when I deliver it, you can pay extra.” I’m like, no thanks. Just mail it standard shipping, please.

So it’s 4:45 AM right now. Been up since 4am. Am I usually that full of piss and vinegar on my birthday? Get up at 4am? No. Actually, 4am was the moment when I woke up and heard music outside. Since it’s 9 degrees outside, I wasn’t real excited about going and meeting my neighbors to chat about it.

But I did.

First, I find that across the alley there’s a SWEET workshop. Some guy with grey hair is in his shop, and he’s painting something or other. Small paintbrushes. And he’s jamming to Roy Orbison and Tom Petty REALLY loudly. I’m banging on the glass, and he finally comes over, turns down the music for a sec, then walks over to the door. Since I’m standing there on the other side of the glass (4:08 am) I assume he can see me. He locks the deadbolt, turns the music back up full blast, and relaxes with his painting.

I stand there, mouth hanging open, completely offended. For about three minutes.

I can’t even figure out what to do. Is this guy kidding? I have a mind to…. oh, wait… I’m on his property. Oops.

Wait a minute… what if his hearing isn’t so good? What if he can’t see me? (I AM dressed in black from head to toe.) What if he actually has no idea that I’m standing here looking at him? Byron Katie comes to mind. What if I’m the one being offensive… by jumping to the conclusion that he can see and hear me? That he’s aware of my perspective before I’ve shared it? That he can somehow read minds?

Go back home (1/2 block). Get back in bed. Still hear music. (Not the happy kind of “hearing music”.)

Same old internal struggle… What would I do if I were a REAL man? (What IS a ‘real man’?) Should I just cover my head with the pillow? Do I need to defend my “turf”? Wait a minute, don’t we all need to respect the needs of others? Especially at 4am?

Then, I get an idea… FLASHLIGHT. I go back over and shine my flashlight in. He comes over and opens the door. I’m all nice, and explain that I can hear his music in my house. He’s SUPER apologetic. Then I introduce myself and tell him I’m looking forward to meeting him when it’s daylight. I call him sir.

His name is George*, and he had no idea that anyone could hear his jams. We shake hands. There in the cold darkness, we’re both smiling.

So I look forward to hanging with my new buddy, George. See what he’s painting over there. Now it’s 4:53am. Should I go back to sleep for 1 hour? Should I even try? It’s my birthday, you know…

Thank you again for the painting, bro. Once it arrives, I’ll let you know. I’m so excited that you actually let it out of your hands… I know they can be hard to release into the wilds…

Oh yeah… and I hung out with my buddy Charlie yesterday. He showed me his recording software– fancier than mine. Time for me to step it up, I do believe. And it looks like I’ll be able to do that for only $129. That is amazing to me. (As opposed to five hundred bucks. Ouch. Double ouch.) So once that gets rolling, I’ll let you know, as well. Better drum sounds, better EVERYTHING sounds. You’ll see.

Love to the Nth degree,
T

(*Not his real name)

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Conflict resolution: Lessons in the dark

  1. Texas J

    When you find the answer to “what would a real man do?” , please let me know. I think WE ALL could use a little help with that. By “WE ALL”, I mean almost all Man/Boys out here. 99.9% of men, the other .1% are in denial, but we’ll just let the come around on their own.

  2. Texas J

    I know a big stick always works well.

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