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Friday, May 07, 2010

Quite Refreshing, Really

I am not sure that I buy the idea that "opposites attract," a phrase often used to defend the pairing of individuals who go together like salt on a wound. On the other hand, I once had a conversation with a friend which I will never forget.

This individual was very meticulous in his work - he was known for precision in both his practice routines and performance. I also understood that he was very tidy in his personal life. He had lived in a number of places and was a recent transplant to New York City, a place that did not seem very fitting to his temperament.

One evening, standing in the vestibule of my apartment building, we did some catching up and he told me why he had moved to the city - for a woman. We exchanged notes about relationships and the difficulties in people accommodating each others styles. The subject quickly turned to living habits and neatness. Knowing this man's style, I was assured that his girlfriend was like himself.
However, I was shocked to learn that she was nothing of the kind. She was, in fact, an absolute mess, disorganized and forgetful. I asked him how he could possibly tolerate living with a woman like that, and his answer was just riveting - "I find it quite refreshing, really."

This had a profound effect on me, and subsequent to that conversation, I noticed how being around someone who was easier about the minutiae of life could often be liberating. This is not always successful, of course. I am reminded of the film The Way We Were, where the ability of two very different people (Robert Redford and Barbra Streisand) to get along is painfully tested and results in a parting of ways. In the end, Redford explains that his decision to separate is due to their different styles.

Having the ability to let go is of tremendous value in a place like New York City. This is not the most hospitable environment for control freaks or perfectionists who want things just so. The city is built on diversity - the beautiful and ugly, the noisy and serene, the rough and polished, planned and spontaneous events. Anyone hoping for a pristine environment conforming to his or her wishes, obsessions or compulsions is in for a trying time and neuroses. You will be tested at every turn. Give a little, and whether you are looking at violet Veronicas or in the subway, you might find the city's diversity quite refreshing, really :)

Confession: Today's posting demonstrates only a half step to full abandon. At one time I would have felt compelled to know the exact species of plant in this photo, which I do not. However, I did not feel comfortable letting the photo stand on its own without identifying the flowers, so I did email today's image to a friend and regular reader of this blog to at least get the genus - Veronica, aka Speedwell. The bed of flowers is located in Washington Square Park.


Carlo said...

Would you mind if I ask you what do you do? I mean, your job. I've always wanted to know it.

Everytime I'm tired and my mind needs a break I visit your blog. And it's always very pleasant; my compliments on your photos.

Brian Dubé said...

My business is public record (I manufacture and distribute juggling equipment. See I have done a number of related blog postings:

Hood Photo Blog said...

Gorgeous colors!!!

NYfan said...

Of course, it´s refreshing because if you´re a "controll junkie" and you meet a person who doesn´t care at all. But maybee this will not last for a long time ... Because one day it may drive you really crazy!

Brian Dubé said...

Hood Photo - Thanks.

NYFan - 'tis true. Unless you can stay open to a very different personality type like that, you may find yourself constantly trying to change the other person or spending all your time neatening. But some are able to do that with love and acceptance.

Anonymous said...

I think the idea of opposites attracting comes from magnetics: North and South poles attract; North/North and South/South poles repel each other.

Jules said...

Oh that's funny...salt on wound. I laughed. Tis true, some attractions are difficult to fathom and impossible to explain. Beautiful photo. I will take the time to look at more. I have to say ...juggling equipment... is a refreshingly different occupation!

Mary said...

Spoke with the Park gardener this morning. She let me know the plants in the photo are a Salvia rather than the Veronica I thought it was. If you check the following link, you can see that it's true.

In my defence, they look a lot alike. And the photos of the Veronica weren't as clear. (A Google search for veronica photos gets you something entirely different! A search of salvia photos brings up the plant right away.)