From Quarrel to Joust : Elevation process

When your couple needs to fight, you argue. You can stay at reptilian or prehistoric levels : you scream, play flying plates & slamming doors, scream louder, or you can try to move the cursor up.

If your quarrelsome mood – oh what a great word! – needs to unfold, there’s are some wrong ways up like becoming sarcastic or using bad faith, stupidity or violent communication (one define the other : “You’re like your mother”, “You’re lazy”), silence icy treatment or using poor innocent third parties (the kids?).

I propose to rise from these low levels of arguing. Of course you can use Reason. If you know Transactional Analysis you can begin to dissect your communication and try to put it on “Adult -> Adult” mode. That’s OK! Think. Or ask a intermediary (not your mother-in-law!) to play the diplomatic card.

My purpose here is to imagine another “Right Way Up” : Jousting. It’s a change of mood. You fight… with a smile for the other. It’s a sparkling competition. Emulation is the key. It can become a game. You can really invent rules like : “You can’t speak until you waited two minutes in silence after I did, I’ll do the same”, or “Argue on both sides of a table… with pen & paper” (find your own rules).

Jousting is a clever way to quarrel. It’s like when you play chess with a friend, emulation is the key. You want victory but you help your opponent to climb too.”Right Path Up”. Finding solutions… and at the same time satisfy your need to fight. Joust!

 

Of course if you read my blog you know that there’s a pattern here, a tool for other situations : Elevation. When and where (and how) do you realize that you’re on a low level? Gaiety? Entertainment? Sex? When you’re in a useful place but you should maybe stop, think and push a lever. Which lever is it? Subtlety. Right?

This pattern is described here : https://afrenchtoolbox.wordpress.com/2015/08/07/a-matter-of-levers/

Thanks for reading!

 

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Instagram : such_a_pretty_crazy

“God will give it back to you”

This Sunday morning I was so… under, that I took my bag to – guess what – run some errands. You knowww… it keeps your mind and body a little busy. I’m aware it’s a low form of comfort, but we all do what we can, right?

I bought a bottle of Chardonnay, among little things I need home : tuna fish, tomatoes, coffee.

Was walking back home in the very quiet streets of La Madeleine when I overtook a VERY old lady, walking at snailspeed with the help of a metallic medical walker.

– “Hey mister?”, she asked. I stopped and of course answered her : “Do you need some help?”.

She showed me her untied shoe.

“Can you help me with that?”. Of course I agreed and we small talked while I was fixing it. Like : “I’m sorry to annoy you with that/Well, one day I’ll need it maybe too from someone else!”.

She was probably in her nineties. I felt her great and fast intelligence, completely slowed down by the age of her body. Sparkles in her eyes, in her smile. VERY smart, very old.

I imagined her at 17, vivacious and beautiful. I imagined her at 40, gorgeous and seeking the sense of love and life. She told me (with a winking smile) : “Dieu vous le rendra!” – “God will reward you”. The kind of phrase you get from a person who doesn’t believe in any God, but knows the deep meaning of that situation.

“Thank you”

She knew that I knew. I saw it in her eyes. We “clicked”.

 

I have a little tool for that :

Life IS short. Let’s find a way.

 

PS : “Dieu vous le rendra” is your “God will reward you”, so, OK. But if I rawtranslate it, you get “God will give it back to you”. It’s a bit different, right?

Oh, my, this needs a conversation. Again.

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“Where are you, good grief?” – Cute Stalking Tango

You’ll find dozens of articles about how stalking is baaaad. They are all made on the same pattern : “After a break-up, a good lady is annoyed by an evil ex-lover, who watches her life through Facebook, Instagram and whatever else social media”, blah blah. It’s bad for him too, say the articles : “he suffers and he’s jealous, instead of healing, oh this is so sad”, etc. Him or Her, oui? It works both ways…

 

Mutual stalking is something else. You stalk with a smile, and you begin to see signs that the other one stalks you too, awweeee! :

  • He blocked you on Instagram but from time to time you’re unblocked (he has to, to see what you post).
  • He “doesn’t watch” your pictures but one day accidentally double-clicked one. In a hurry he un-liked it but too late : there’s a warning “XXX liked you picture” on your phone.
  • He “doesn’t read your blog” but if one day you are briefly in contact with him, he talks about elements you posted on your blog only.
  • You’re in a silence treatment fight but you appear to be at the same time connected on WhatsApp, silently staring the other one status : “Online” for minutes, like two smiling idiots.
  • You read his blog, realizing that almost all posts are like disguised letters for you, full of signs like the city you were born, idioms you use, symbols you both know, etc – telling “I think of you” or “I want to talk to you where are you, good grief?” constantly.
  • He’s so wrong in his writings, but maybe he’s not talking about you, after all… And, well, this dog is sometimes so right that it hurts, or that you’d want to cuddle him for a minute.
  • You hate/love him but you like/dislike that he thinks about you sometimes.
  • Some fake accounts wanders around. Full of clues… You can then play cat and mouse : it’s me, I make as if I didn’t know it’s you, please do the same, because we don’t talk to each other any more, right?

 

Well, not with him/her, that’s clear, OK? But not without him/her either, right?

Have a nice day!

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When you hate someone and 3 mn later you deeply love this person

“When you hate someone and 3 minutes later you deeply love this person”, makes me think of some 2 French idioms :

Avoir du répondant : “To have some answering”. You have in English “To have an answer for everything”, but the French one is VERY different. It’s much more positive, it’s a skill, a happy skill. It’s great to have a friend or a partner who “have some answering”. It means you can fight without anger, like a conversation game : you know that the other is strong enough to play with you, to say “No I disagree” without anger. “Avoir du répondant” is to be smart, fast, effective and strong in conversation. I would add “joyful” to the list.

In conversation, or in sex, or in dance (tango!), or in creativity. You need nerve, decisions, propositions and muscles on your side, right?

 

Ni avec toi, ni sans toi : “Nor with you, nor without you”. It’s a quirky dance. You cannot stand to be with someone : both will be torn apart quickly. “I hate you, demon!. But you cannot stand to be without this personne more than 3 minutes. Because she/he has some answering : Cette personne a du répondant. It’s great to talk. You’re alive. There’s gold, a bond. Come on… “I’ll love you forever whatever”…

What a strange loop!

 

Thanks for reading!

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Intimacy as “reading a book together” : Chronicle 10

Today I learned an english word : “Suitor“. In French we say “Un prétendant”… isn’t it a bit strange?

Immediately I wondered : is it always masculine? What would be a “female suitor”? A suitress? Nahhh…

Big Love (capitals, please) and Passion, we need to cross this in life, right? But when you become an adult you’re more interested by spending quality time together. You are quieter, you share, you think about this thing which is called : INTIMACY.

Tonight I thought about this, thanks to a New York Times article, a letter from a couple : the husband was explaining that his wife was ill and tired, just out of hospital, so he began to read books to her.

THAT is intimacy, that is love, the love I love.

Maybe I’m too French romantic, but watching an Art Book with the woman I love has been a totally tender and satisfying experience. Weirdly, I would remember these moments more than sex.

You don’t need 142 suitors. Just look for a man who is able to have a ten hours conversation with you (seems like ten minutes, right?). Just look for a girl who will REALLY be interested in watching some Art book you have on your shelves, asking, talking, smiling, turning the pages, initiating conversations, etc, etc, etc.

You know that kind of intimacy, right?

Thanks for reading!

 

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Pictures : Poumeyrol

Sad Heart, Merry Spirit : Chronicle 9

I read in a Claude Roy diary, as he’s around 70 years old, that he would like to reach this season, this state : “Le temps du cœur triste et de l’esprit gai” – the time of the sad heart and the merry spirit.

Here I have a vocabulary problem : is “gai” happy, merry, gay, jolly? I don’t know. I chose merry.

But I’m very fascinated by this “goal”, from an aged author I liked very much. As if he knew he could never heal his heart. But, knowing this, building his own happiness, a “merry spirit”. This touched me, a lot.

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Just read an article evoking Robert Osborne, a TCM Television Presenter who just died at 87 years old. It is told that Olivia de Havilland had with him :

One phone call a week, for decades.

Awwweeee! (-> this was the sound of my merry spirit). I wish I had a friend so close that she would call me once a week until I die at 87. Like a whatever-happens-I-want-to-talk-with-you. Awwweeee again (my merry spirit if very merried by this idea).

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I read (but where, is it Casanova or Jünger?) about the Venice Purse, a knack which says that when you have to go to a “dangerous” place (which was Venice at the time), you needed to have two purses, one with a little money in case you’re robbed, attacked, knocked out, and another one with the main part of it – well hidden.

It’s just funny to know, but then you realize that when you travel abroad you really have to think about what you do with your passport, the amount of money you have with you, etc. I wonder what this concept can tell us about life in general : Be cautious? Watch the exits? Don’t put all your eggs in the same basket? But also : GO to places where you need to think about the Venice Purse, right?

Venice, in French, is VENISE. A perfect word to say : Venizzz. Elegant as a swan, right? Venice is more like braking at the end. No good. French better, sorry.

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Elmore Leonard says somewhere about novels writing : “If it seems written, I rewrite”.

What a beautiful idea, right? Writing Style Dissimulation Efforts.

And a paradox many artists know well : work, work, work, until nobody sees you worked. It’s an interesting goal, and the path itself is enthralling too. How to reach?

There’s a balance to find, I suppose. It means you have the eyes to know when it’s not OK, when it is OK. Experience.

Well I have a vocabulary problem again. When do you use “enthralling“, dear? Can you say that about a person? How is it radioactivitied? Thrilling? Fearful? Exciting? Or more like “plainfully satisfying”?

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I watched the Iowa episode of Aerial America yesterday. It’s amazing how many times I hear “French” in these. Detroits and Illinois were “frenchised” words, and how Iowa is a piece of this territory called Louisiana, the US bought to the French 214 years ago.

These TV programs tell me how BIG are the United States. Tonight I’ll watch Illinois, following the path of Bill Bryson’s book across America in car (cf Fixin’to traveling in the USA).

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OK, it’s too long. I seize the run-up since a few weeks (is “seize the run-up” a good title?), like making the most of an epistolary energy…

I stop here. Next Chronicle next week. Here’s le hug by Ze French :

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Have a nice day!