One of my work partners used to say that we gee’d and haw’d pretty well together. But there was considerable friction while we figured out how. We had very different talents and very different ways of thinking about things. So there was a lot of letting go, of working on faith that the one person would do things well, even if it weren’t the way the other would have done it. It’s very interesting to learn other ways of approaching things.
I think relationships are formed by lots of little compromises. I came across two while I was visiting my mother:
My mother is a great walker – slow but strong. She keeps saying, my legs are shorter and I’m a lot older than you are. She goes out for a walk twice a day and goes at least a mile – rain or shine. She misses only when it’s icy or when she’s recovering from surgery. When I visited her, I needed exercise, so the twice-daily walks were excellent. It even took energy to walk slower and to make sure I was aware of where she was. We’d get about half the distance home — where she’d often take a free bus up the hill, and I’d say let’s just walk all the way, we have time. After a couple of weeks I finally figured out that I was wearing her out. So next time we got to the bus stop, I told her to get on the bus and I’d continue walking. We had a little race for the last distance. I got to quicken my pace, and she’d beat me — unless the bus driver had to put down the wheel chair lift at one of the stops. It meant we both got what we wanted.
I have two friends out there who have figured out how to deal with one liking quiet at home and the other liking music to do chores by. He now has an iPod and listens to his own mixes, while she has guilt-free quiet. Of course it’s a little harder to get his attention, but nothing’s perfect.
There’s a particular satisfaction in a smart compromise.