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This is part of a series organised over at The Blog Roll, in which a group (I hope!) of us (and by us, I mean we tentative earnest bloggers) write about the same thing. In theory. They don't know (heh, heh, villainous chuckle here) that I intend to just do my own take. All along, all I wanted to do was tell you guys about this. So this thing happened on Saturday night at Plunket*:

***

Plunket on a Saturday night

So this is the scene. Here we sit in the lounge of our teeny upstairs flat in Kelburn. The walls, post-dinner (cooked, eaten, and cleared) are still damp with condensation. There are foam beanbag beans all over the floor. Dotting the carpet. Our vacuum cleaner is pakaru. Consequently, our floor is untidy.

I am perched on a swivel chair, bending over the laptop on the table to the side of the room, tapping at my keyboard and jumping from articles about the deep meaning in Where the Wild Things Are to Youtube clips from Dumbo, piping up intermittently to share how tragic an elephant's captivity is, and etc.

Camilla has her blankie tucked over her legs, feet crossed beneath it, cosy in a cane armchair leaning against the bench by the door, engrossed in The Hunger Games. We discussed the merits of character arcs and development beforehand, with reference to the books' current rival in the world of pop cultural story consciousness, Game of Thrones. Tom is draped over the other cane chair, feet propped on a swivel, elbows akimbo, dipping his head down into the pages of the second, or third or whatever, volume of the Game of Thrones books. Dipping it back up again to regale us with bits of information or observation about the current exciting and melodramatic events of the saga. Saga. Beowulf would turn in his grave.

Chloe’s neatly sitting in the dead centre of the couch. She’s got her fingers in her mouth and is looking at a flowchart from her notes. Dear Chloe, why are you studying? Two days still 'til school starts again.

The big TV is showing a series menu, but the screen is greyed out and has been for hours. It hums gently. The light is yellow and bright. The kitchen is clean, the counters bare. It’s warm.

Tom looks up and looks pointedly at Chloe.  Chloe takes a minute to notice, then gazes back. They hold the line of sight. I happen to lift my head from the screen and watch them for a couple of seconds. Her face is serene. His is serious. I drop my head and let them have their moment.  They do. And then we all go back to our reading.

***


And of such things is community made.



As our brave first submitter said first, I am sometimes sick to death of the concept of community. It seems that sometimes it's just used as a ham-fisted attempt to force socialisation among people who have little in common and causes more awkwardness than it alleviates.

But then you get little moments of rightness. When you're not, necessarily, socialising. But in communion. The great Madeleine L'engle has this to say:

“Hey Meg! Communication implies sound. Communion doesn't.' He sent her a brief image of walking silently through the woods, the two of them alone together., their feet almost noiseless on the rusty carpet of pine needles. They walked without speaking, without touching, and yet they were as close as it is possible for two human beings to be.
...
And she had been as happy, she remembered, as it is possible to be, and as close to Calvin as she had ever been to anybody in her life, even Charles Wallace, so close that their separate bodies, daisies and buttercups joining rather than dividing them, seemed a single enjoyment of summer and sun and each other.
...
Mr. Jenkins had never had that kind of communion with another human being, a communion so rich and full that silence speaks more powerfully than words.”

Madeleine L'Engle, A Wind in the Door


In related news, my bathroom from the last post is now dirty again. My flatmates and I argue about it constantly. Like we do about the dishes, the shopping and the leftovers. But that's ok. We manage to be ok with each other anyway. it's just, how can I put this?  I am okay with the concept - and the practice - of yelling at, fighting with, and arguing constantly with the people I love. My family and my closest friends are the ones whom I yell at regularly. I am an ardent subscriber to the idea that the opposite of love is indifference rather than hate or anger; anger being part of the same coin as affection, the expression of either is, in my eyes, still a sign of a strong relationship. I dated someone who thought being yelled at meant things were irreparably broken. It took me a very long time to figure out why he wouldn't just cooprate and engage in the healthy yelling match I wanted to have, no matter how much I pushed him (I wasn't willing to push him verrry much). Mammmmma mia. That did not go well. Anyway, I am grateful for the presence of all the people who are  willing to engage in verbal battles with me. You're GOOD friends, and my kind of people.

Yay for communion and yelling at people. That's a very strange note to end on.



* Plunket is where I live. Cryptic? Maybe just enough.

Comments

( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
vanTalerie
May. 1st, 2012 11:56 am (UTC)
Yay for community and yelling at people indeed! That's an excellent way to put it :).

<3.
tearoha
Jun. 10th, 2012 12:53 pm (UTC)
XD I yell at people an awful lot less than I make out, but I do like people to be open to directness! It makes everything; relationshis, community, more honest.
tiegirl
May. 2nd, 2012 01:59 am (UTC)
My Mom always thought you should treat the people you love with the most courtesy, but it just isn't possible, you know? They're the ones you fight with! You know them the best. Courtesy, that's for strangers. :P
tearoha
Jun. 10th, 2012 12:54 pm (UTC)
:P Maybe it's not discourteous to yell? After all, if you do it right you're clearing the air and that's gotta be good... yeah? I don't think directness is necessarily rude. On the other hand, your Mom sounds fantastic.
tiegirl
Jun. 11th, 2012 01:07 am (UTC)
Oh, my Mom was my best friend when I grew up. She had her issues, though, and one of them was the confrontation thing. But she was fun. We were all to do our own laundry as kids and it tended to pile up on the laundry floor and folding table, etc. She finally got fed up with it and took a magic marker and wrote ALL OVER THE WALL!

I AM TIRED!!! of having a huge mess down here! ETC ETC ETC

for about a 4 foot square area of white wall in the laundry room. Once we finished laughing we cleaned up and kinda kept it clean after that.

Hee hee.
tearoha
Jun. 12th, 2012 01:19 pm (UTC)
:D

I love your Mum.

My flatmate did the most non-confrontational confrontational thing like that. He came home and found the door had been left unlocked. And he wrote "HOUSE WAS LEFT OPEN AGAIN" all over the fridge in permanent marker.

Much the same!
melmylvaganam.wordpress.com
Jun. 10th, 2012 12:56 am (UTC)
I love this - beautiful description of your Sunday night and I love your thoughts following - I totally agree that anger isn't a sign of something being broken, but in practice I still shy away from confrontations. Often I get angry inside but don't flare up - though sometimes I do if the issue is really important to me! (Equally, sometimes it may be important but I still don't come out with it...) I've experienced this difference (yelling vs. non-yelling) causing a lot of misunderstanding and pain - it's certainly a difference we need to be aware of!
tearoha
Jun. 10th, 2012 12:59 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm not as yelly as I sound, honest. I just, I like problems to be honestly, directly discussed. It's less hurtful that way in the long run :) Makes happy communities.

I'd be interested to see how many people have experieenced this kind of conflict in dealing-with-things - and how!
tiegirl
Jun. 11th, 2012 01:09 am (UTC)
I couldn't agree more. I have a co-worker who used to be a very good friend who is a master of the sarcastic hit and run. Every time I try to engage her in any kind of discussion of differences, she zings me and then runs away, rolling her eyes.

Not very productive. And annoying as hell.
tearoha
Jun. 12th, 2012 01:21 pm (UTC)
She sounds scared of your debating skills to me!
melmylvaganam.wordpress.com
Jun. 10th, 2012 12:57 am (UTC)
And, I LOVE that Madeline L'Engle quote!!
tearoha
Jun. 10th, 2012 01:00 pm (UTC)
Madeleine L'Engle gave me some of my first philosophising.
Daniel Sherson
Jun. 12th, 2012 11:35 am (UTC)
Thoughts:

I'm also a non-yeller I think, except in the context of punk music :)

Beowulf is the author? I just learned a thing.

I love the tangibleness of your post.
tearoha
Jun. 12th, 2012 01:22 pm (UTC)
Beowulf as the author of... of Game of Thrones? *dies* PLEASE NO

Tangibility. It's a lovely thing, as well as rolling off the tongue.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )