February 12, 2017 § 6 Comments
My alone-self is relaxed, and as comfortable as a pair of well-worn jeans, entertained by quiet thinking, making a little music, leaving a trail of words across a page.
Who am I in company? That depends on the company.
It’s not that I am a mirror, vacant until you step up, but I respond to you.
Together, we create a dance that is not the freewheeling dance of all-alone. We cue each other. We synchronize.
Depending on you, the shift from the inner me to the public me can be slight or profound, but it always happens.
You do it too. You change for me as we turn toward each other.
No one is unyielding, unresponsive. No one is, under all circumstances, a single, monolithic self. That would be as impractical as wearing one outfit for all occasions.
Now, think of the people you are closest to: parents, children, spouse, best friend, colleague. But don’t think of them with you. Think of you with them.
Who do you become in their company?
Unlike a brief encounter with a stranger, that one-off in which we hold a door or honk because that idiot hasn’t noticed the green light, our encounters with those we know well come with a history, an unspoken set of rules. Over the years a shared vocabulary has been established.