Have you ever had one of those conversations where you’re almost asleep, and then someone comes in and says something? You’re already in this semi-conscious state of dream time, and your conversation filter tends to be a little less effectively deployed. It’s more of a “get the answer out” situation instead of a “think about your answer” deal. This can turn emotions on a dime in a hurry.
Such an occasion occurred with 2012 barely underway, just 2 hours into January 1st. I was tucked comfortably in bed about 10 seconds from REM bliss, when the Sig-O (still working on a nickname for the girlfriend, we’ll post the update when it happens) stepped through the doorway and poured herself into the bed next to me. And somehow, even though I was half asleep and turned away from where she was laying, my Spidey-sense told me she was propped up, leaning next to me, staring, waiting to say something. So I did what I think most of us would do: I played dead. If the conversation was going to happen, she’d have to start it.
We’ve all had moments of reflection after consuming alcohol, and I’ve found that the amount of spirits ingested is almost directly proportionate to the magnitude of the realization. It also seems tied to the amount of emotion displayed in the moment, which I was about to experience first hand.
Feeling her lean closer, I heard the words slip from between her lips…
“You’re going to die someday.”
Hearing those words at any point in time, whether asleep, half in the bag, or wide awake, are probably NOT the best ones to hear. It goes without saying that having someone slip into bed next to me and uttering that phrase should have caused alarm… I mean, I couldn’t see her, was she holding something? Was she’s smliing creepishly? Was her resolution to start the year single and making sure it happened? For all I know, she was hovering over me like this:
Thankfully, but still slightly concerning, this was NOT the intention behind the delivery of the happiest New Year’s conversation starter ever. There was a palpable sadness in the words spoken: not so much a threatening declaration of my impending demise, but more a statement of her emotional position. Which is more appropriately represented by this:
Taking this emotion into account, my thought process followed this general path:
- She’s sad. Alright, I’m not going to die.
- Why is she sad? Maybe it has something to do with the alcohol.
- Man I’m sleepy.
- Ok, she’s really sad, and you’re really sleepy. How do I make this quick?
- I should agree with her. Something to validate her point, but end the conversation.
- Ya, that’s it, say that.
“We’re all gonna die someday sweetie, you’re gonna die too.”
Looking back now, I’m not sure how I thought this would end the conversation, maybe I leaned on the old “agreement” standby as a default position. Regardless, by answering this way combined with the fact she was already in an inebriated state of duress should have done nothing but melted her into a sobbing pile of inconsolable tears. The fact she didn’t was both surprising, and showed how important the conversation actually was.
“I KNOW, and that makes me SAD.”
It was now apparent that the focus of this late night chat wasn’t so much about the idea as it was about the emotion involved. The Sig-O had started with a factual realization, but the feelings tied to this epiphany were now leading the charge. And unfortunately, I find that indulging in a conversation with anyone that is based around emotion is exponentially more difficult to resolve than one dealing with facts. i.e.: “The car is broken.” Response: “That’s too bad, we’ll have to get it fixed.” vs “The car is broken, and that makes me SAD.” Response: “It’s ok, we’ll get it fixed…it’ll be ok…(minutes of repetition)…” I was concerned that at this prime sleeping hour, the latter was about to take place. And if I didn’t want to be insensitive/not-caring/mean/indifferent, I had to get my hands dirty.
Sadly due to my own haziness and the lateness of the discussion, the majority of the remaining details are foggy at best, but a few key points do still stand out. The conversation lasted approximately 3 minutes, determined by looking at the clock after the talking began and a repeat check after it was over. There was never any heavy sobbing or unconsolable moments, it was truly just a discussion about a sad realization and what we could do to understand and accept it. And at the end of the mercifully brief conversation, we fell asleep huddled together under the blankets, far from dead. Those things are certain. As was the fact that it definitely ended with the following exchange:
Sig-O: “I just really don’t want you to die.”
Response: “Sweetie, I promise I’ll die after you.”
Barn relationship relationships