I\’m sitting on the porch, and my feet are cold. For no good reason, I\’ve gone out of my way to treat myself to a good beer, a summer ale by Kulshan Brewing. I was going to buy a cheap tallboy of Modelo or Bud-Heavy, but I felt a sense of nostalgia when I saw Kulshan; it (quite vaguely) reminded me of my time in Bellingham.
I started this blog with the intention of being candid—\’cause this is an online journal/diary. And I knew it was only a matter of time before I would end up writing about drama with someone I know; I just didn\’t think it would be so soon. This is going to be a challenge. But the challenge is important because that\’s where character is built. I need to accurately and fairly describing what happened, and then come to a reasonable conclusion that I would be comfortable openly sharing.
First off, I need to hedge my position here before I start accusing friends: I handled things poorly, even if what I said was accurate. A lot of frustration could have been saved if I wasn\’t impulsive. Allright, here we go:
A friend invited me and my girlfriend for dinner, and then once we agreed to the invite, he sarcastically remarked that we should invite any single friends if we have any. By itself this remark is a little bit off, but it isn\’t a faux pas. And he\’s not a slimy creep; he\’s actually an especially friendly, good looking, successful guy whose single-status is either a result of his homebody-personality or bad karma from a previous lifetime. My problem was that he has made this remark every single time that we have hung out; I should have addressed my discomfort earlier, but I let it build.
So, when I woke up on the day that we had dinner plans, I sent him a nasty text:
I’ve been thinking about it, and I’m going to call off dinner tonight.
I don’t think you realize that it’s insulting and just like plain wrong that you think I’m a guy that can get you laid because I have connections. My friends, and the friends of my friends aren’t your fuck-toys. I suggest you reevaluate your attitude towards women.
Within ten minutes of waking up, I sent that exact message. And I want to slap myself in the damn face for it. Logically, I think my message was sound-enough. But sound-enough isn\’t reason-enough to say something like that. And sure enough, he quickly sent a well-worded and reasonable response explaining his position.
We\’re both reasonable guys, and this ended reasonably. I apologized, and he accepted my apology. And we didn\’t have dinner. And that was that—a dramatic tuesday.
But it got me thinking about previous times that I was similarly impulsive, and I wanted to frame it symbolically. And I wound up thinking about lightning. Lightning builds up, and then it discharges, suddenly and violently. Lightning is a really important symbol for me, and it\’s interesting that I finally get to apply it to my life in a way that helps me organize my being.
Heraclitus, an ancient Greek says, in two different translations:
Lightning strikes root through everything.
Thunderbolt steers all things.
Heraclitus thinks that the fundamental nature of reality is fire, and by fire, he means change. Everything is in flux. But the world is not just merely flux and change. He says it\’s guided by the thunderbolt, lightning. What this means exactly is up for debate, because the guy was really vague. But here\’s what I think it means.
I think that nature has a violent way of reordering the world—revolutions, mass extinctions, plagues of locusts, war, famines, economic crashes, etc. all lead to a new emerging order . A thunderbolt is an apt symbol for that phenomenon. It\’s a natural build-up and sudden burst of energy—a river of energy—that follows a particular path(s) to its target(s), and then it sets its target on fire, which is transformational.
And in a really mundane way, that\’s what happened to me when I was impulsive: I let energy build up, and then it was violently released, and it transformed my environment; because of my violence, I reached a new state of equilibrium.
As much as I love Heraclitus, he doesn\’t have the final word. I/we don\’t have to let a thunderbolt organize our lives. And so I\’ve been thinking about a counterbalancing symbol. The first thing that came to mind was a lightning rod, and the second thing that came to mind was a particular kind of bell