Friday, November 5, 2010


For seven minutes last night, I argued with Taz.  Now, before you jump off the deep end with the OMG's...don't panic...for's normal.

A long time ago, Taz was a lawyer.  He got tired of it so he switched professions.   Go figure.  But, underneath that calm, cool, gorgeous exterior, what do you have?  A dyed in the wool lawyer.  The man will argue anything. It's actually quite charming.  But, for some reason, last night, he had the argue bug up his butt.  

We ended our hour-long conversation of the previous evening with the fact that he was trying to program a new remote.  Anyone who is remotely a part of today's technojunkie society knows, if there is a gadget, there's a remote for it.  Taz, because his knee is so banged up, got himself a remote that controls his lights, ceiling fan, and all other sorts of gadgetry around his house so that way he doesn't have to get up when he's in pain.   Our call got cut short because he was starting to get frustrated with trying to program the thing.  Ever try to program a remote?  It's just like the clock on the old VCR's...hellish to try to figure out and set up.  So Mr. Cranky-Pants, in the midst of our conversation starts to tinker with the thing, and then, when he got frustrated enough, he realized he had to concentrate on the remote, he couldn't multi-task our conversation and that blasted remote, so we got off the phone.

Now, before you hang him out to dry because he seems to care more about technology than me, stop there.  It's not the truth.  He's one of those people that constantly has to be doing things, he can't just lay there and talk on the phone, so don't judge him too harshly because I know lots of people like that.

Anyhow, he calls me up last night just to say "hi" and we talk about the remote.  How it took him a couple of hours, endless manuals and then getting down to the simple fact that all of the other remotes he has for all of his gadgets, from the stereo, lights on down has to communicate with each other to get the idiot master remote to work.  Ok, great.  Now he doesn't have to get up when he's hurting, that's good.

Now, my whole thing was that IF he wasn't in pain all the time, that remote would be for someone spoiled.  He immediately went into lawyer mode and just went to town arguing the "spoiled" factor.  Lordy.  I sat there going, "Really?"  He's arguing the word "spoiled"?  I eyerolled.  After seven minutes, I finally heard the magic phrase..."I'm a lawyer, I'll argue anything, doesn't matter the point of view, I'll even argue from your point of view..."  At that point, I said, "Ok, enough arguing."  He says, "I'll argue that too." As I rounded the corner into my kitchen I stopped and placed my forehead against the dividing wall between my kitchen and dining area and gently banged my head against it several times.  Then I finally figured it out and reverse psychology kicked in and I said, "Well shit Taz, let's argue some more," then he says, "Ok, I'm done."  Ever had one of those moments where you just look up to the sky and laugh because something is so ridiculous?  Oy veh.  The man can argue.

However, I look it like this.  While Taz can be frustrating...remember, he's hard-headed as hell, so it's part and parcel of being around him.  Knew it eight years ago, know it now, it's fine.  It's a part of him I accept.  There is another part though which deserves some definite lip service.

We all know my previous relationship was with someone who could have cared less and avoided arguments at all costs, even down to just small disagreements.  It was always very placating and it left me pissed off because the ex never engaged me on anything, he just let it all go by, even when it could have been constructive.  So if Taz wants to argue, fine.  I'll say something, he'll get the argue bug up his butt and I'll just let him go because I've got the common sense to know that he'll argue both sides, get all sorts of wound up and then I can sit and watch, being charmed and giggling over the whole thing because when Taz argues, there's not a malicious bone in his body, he'll just chew on the argument until all the flavor is gone, leaving me entertained.  So that's fine, at least he's expressing himself, speaking passionately and just being him.  As far as nutritional value goes, Taz has tons, which to me is like giving candy to a baby.  

Now, this one you will love.  The other night, Taz and I are talking and we're talking about how healthy it is to argue in relationships.  One thing I said and he had a little trouble with was my use of the word "collaborator" in terms of a relationship.  Ok, here's how I think of it...when you start out a relationship, it's a very tenuous situation, so what do you do when you're starting something up?  You trade ideas and see how it measures up, it's a collaborative effort to see if the chemistry is there.  Ok fine.  It's like training wheels on a relationship, you're just getting off the ground, so you need someone to help you hold the bike steady as you're learning to ride.  

After the "collaborator" portion of a relationship, you have a "consort."  A consort, contrary to the true dictionary definition, I view as someone who isn't an official boyfriend, girlfriend or whatever, it's just a small liaison with an ally which can grow stronger over time but doesn't have the necessary pressures of a hard-core relationship.  It's casual, no commitments, you just chill with your consort.  I like to think of this one like Cleopatra and Marc Antony before they publicly hooked up or like Queen Elizabeth I with one of her very discreet boyfriends.

After that, you get the traditional partner.  Partner in crime, partner in love, partner to hit the dance floor with...that's your pal that you're going to be with come hell or high water.  It's like my mom and dad, together after 44 years.  They're partners in every sense of the word.

Going to the original topic, there is one thing Taz and I agree on and I'm sure you'll go...

Arguing is a part of a healthy relationship.  It is ok to disagree.  What are you going to do, not express your ideas or engage in the conversations at hand when what's being said doesn't exactly mesh with you?  That's unproductive.  Not engaging in the ideas of your collaborator leaves you without figuring out where you need to give a little or know when it's ok to push further.  I mean, you can have little arguments over what you like on your salad, cleverly discussing whether or not you like croutons or bacon bits, down to what the perfect dressing is.  Point of it is, we all have different points of view, if you don't share them, how far are you realistically going to get?  It's ok to argue the pros and cons of foods, of movies, you name it.  That's productive.  You learn things about your collaborator that will help you later on, and on top of that, you've taken an active part in the conversation, not just being passive and nodding it off.  If you're passive, slap yourself, you need to get into the game!

Case in point...Taz and I both live alone.  We're both perfectly ok with it because we have things just the way we like them.  He's 55, I'm 39, we're both pretty set in our ways, so he and I argued this neat little topic:

What do you do when you're used to living alone and then you get into a relationship?  Of course, whomever you're involved with is either going to be at your house or you're going to be at theirs.  But, what do you do when it comes to being at either place and you're touching the very carefully placed environment?  Do you rip the decorative hand towel off the rack to dry your hands or do you use a towel placed on the counter just for the purpose of drying your hands?  Now before you say "That's common sense" think again.  How many people have you seen do that?  It's true!  You never know what another human being is going to do in your environment, or if they're going to be conscious enough to know that what little impacts they make on your environment will be unsettling to you.  

When you live alone, you know where everything is because YOU put it there.  You add in a second person who doesn't know all that stuff, it's going to make you nuts.  You'll end up following them around, placing things back where you like them and can find them.  But not everyone is conscious enough to realize that it's been solely your environment for an extended period of time...

We argued the point that since I know him and have been in his environment, that I understand his little quirk about "everything in its' place" but if it would be anyone else, it'd make him crazy.  See, I know that Taz is anal-retentive as all hell when it comes to where his workout clothes go, how the pill bottles are placed, where the dishes go, how a label is turned.  He's like freakazoid nuts about that stuff, for me, I could care less about that kind of stuff in my apartment.  BUT, when I'm at his house, I'm super conscious about where to put my shoes when I come in (he's like me, shoes off when you come into the house unless it's a special reason), where to put my purse down, to be careful of the fringe on the Persian rugs because he so very carefully combs them out and they're placed just so.  These are things I know and was instructed on eight years ago.  You bring in someone else, they'll make Taz nuts because they'll carelessly screw up the fringe, they'll forget to put their glass in the dishwasher before they leave, they'll totally and completely disregard his need for timely order.

I'm just the opposite.  My world is a very organized mess.  I'm super organized but, if things get out of place, it doesn't make me as crazy as it does Taz.  So, if someone comes into my apartment, like for example when Nan came to help me pick paint colors and organize the apartment because I was having space issues and I needed help, she reorganized the cupboards and did all sorts of stuff.  We moved furniture and while some of it did make me uncomfortable, I had long ago accepted the fact that I have all of the decorating taste of a warthog and my sister is an interior designer...she's like the Neat lady to the Nth, who comes in, reduces clutter and makes living spaces beautiful.  It also means I'm not going to fight her when she thinks what I think should be the TV table and moves it against my dining room wall to be a buffet and moves an end table to become my TV table.  She's the one who can walk in a room and know what it should look like and be something out of Home and Garden or Architectural Digest.  Her taste is that good, so being as I know my strengths and weaknesses, I accept what she's doing and 99% of the time, she's right, so I put up with a tad bit of discomfort until I get used to the new set up.  If someone came into Taz's and did that, he'd go apeshit.

However, going back and forth on that with several comments of "I couldn't do that," we finally agreed that only until you know someone really well can they come into your environment and not make you crazy. 

Then we talked about how he and I can healthily argue and it's no big deal to either of us.  That's us exchanging ideas and discovering each other again.  However, what you have to understand is that there is not a malicious bone in either of our bodies and you should see the other go into retreat if we say something that hurts the other's feelings.  If either one of us has a criticism, it's always very constructive and we're not the sledgehammer-over-the-head kind of people who will maliciously tear someone down just to make a point.  If it's something that needs to be fixed or that we disagree with the method, we've always got a positive to bring to the table to help.  Overall though, we have so much fun's our normal conversation format because we both know that we're actively taking part in the conversation and it makes both of us happy.  

You know, at the end of it all, I'm having more fun talking to Taz because simply, he and I "get" each other.  We understand the little quirks the other has and it's pretty effortless when he and I get together.  

But, when I go over to Taz's, he is still following me around the house when I get things out of the fridge or open a me, the urge to strangle him is there...after all I do know where everything goes!  But no, he's not there yet, so while I can argue my head off that I'm not going to disturb his environment and that I do know his little quirks, he's still a bit paranoid.  I don't blame him.  Luckily for me, I've got patience and plenty of walls to gently bang my head against.

Productive arguing, it's the wave of the future.

Ack!  Edit!  I forgot to post the song of the day...another off the Taz playlist and of course, the one tune that reminds me of he and I back in the old days...

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