Thursday, September 11, 2008

Contagious Emotions

I coined the phrase “contagious emotions” a few weeks ago when Dana, Frits, and Ron were in town. Midway through our gorgeous Napa afternoon, Ron found out that his fantasy football league had changed their minds about when they were going to do their draft picks, and flew into a panic when he realized that he wasn’t going to be able to be in front of a computer at the crucial moment. Hours on the phone commenced, as he talked some very accommodating half-girlfriend through the whole process with her in front of a laptop reading everything off to him over the phone. He pouted when he didn’t get the picks that he wanted, seemed ok when he got someone decent, and spent the whole evening at dinner in and out of his seat.

It was torture.

As hostess, I wanted everyone to have a good time. Most people would have just laughed off his rudeness, but I couldn’t help but worry about it along with him, fret over whether or not his makeshift system was working effectively, and hope that his picks worked out – even though I personally could give a shit about football. At one point when he came back to the table, I asked how it was going.

“Ugh, this sucks,” he grunted at the plate in front of him.

“Well,” I attempted lightheartedly, “please don’t be too upset about it. I’m very susceptible to contagious emotions, so if you’re sad I’ll be sad too, and I really wanted to enjoy this dinner.”

Everyone laughed as they were supposed to, and Ron agreed to try not to be so bummed. As Dana and Frits exclaimed at the cleverness of my statement, what I had said actually sunk in. I realized that it was a completely accurate description of myself.

Although I had never put it into words, this is a trait I have just begun to understand in myself in recent years. It's a very complex trait. It means that I am very sensitive, an excellent listener, and someone who can make others feel comfortable. But the problem is that when things aren’t going well, I’m super aware of it, and it can tend to consume me. I want to fix it ASAP, and usually fixing it means one thing - bolt...

*to be continued...


Anonymous Leah said...

I just had an "aha!" moment. I think this is very perceptive and wonderful.

10:03 AM  
Anonymous FFF said...

Woman, you are seriously the most brilliant. Really. I have used that phrase since our trip (always crediting it to you, of course), but it so accurately sums up so much about me. And the "bolt" tactic? Well, you know I'm the queen of that. I miss you!!

11:06 AM  

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