09 July, 2009

Through the window

I returned from my meeting to find my message light blinking.  Not unusual given it is during the week during the work day…

But the message was unusual.  The message was uncomfortable and unsettling for the simple fact that it wasn’t a message at all but a phone gone a rye. 

The message – a normal conversation between two people.  There was nothing off the wall or out of the norm contained in the two minutes of voices chatting, casually, back and forth.  And yet, I felt like I had bugged the bedroom of the most loving couple engaged in the most intimate activities – or like I was overhearing a conversation about love and feelings and emotions.  And yet, the tones weren’t loving or filled with emotion or intimacy in the slightest.

A while back I read that part of a marriage (or any long term relationship) is the intimacy that develops through time and simply being together.  It might not be the intimacy that comes with trust or physical engagement or anything like that.  In fact, it can develop in the most cold house or in the most platonic of relationships – but it develops all the same. 

It is the intimacy of people being not on public view.  It is the intimacy of sharing a home or a life.  It is the intimacy of sharing a bed even if you gave up any physical connection fifty years ago…

The conversation was ordinary – and it was intimate in just how ordinary it was.  The tones weren’t emotional or overly loving.  There wasn’t flirtation or banter.  It was a conversation between my parents talking about the weather or engaged in a discussion about the road as they drive.

The whole thing and my reaction caught me off guard.  It left we wondering if a phone accidently ever dialed while I was talking to someone.  (Not that it matters, as it doesn’t as it happens to people all the time)  But I wondered what the other person overheard? 

I could have hung up the phone when I realized that it was just a casual conversation, but I didn’t. I didn’t really understand what it was until it was nearly finished.  That surprised me as well as I am not obsessive about things, like people, in the slightest.  I am curious but not enough to invade privacy or track them down and note everything they do or say or whatever.  People are… people.  The President of the US or the average Joe American… we are all just, people. 

But I didn’t hang up.  I listened.  I wondered about the emotions, or lack there of, expressed.  I wondered at the intimacy included in the most mundane and ordinary conversation…

I wondered about people, single and married, making such a huge deal about wanting and finding intimacy… and whether they realize that intimacy is actually right there, before them, in their every day lives.  It is in the simplest conversation or touch.  It is something that we might not even notice (until we miss it) but that someone else picks up easily.  That it isn’t trust or honesty but shared space just as much as anything else.  It is that which people miss most when it is gone.

Yet, perhaps I am mistaking comfort and safety for intimacy?  Perhaps couples often mistake one for the other as within everyday living there is a degree of intimacy that comes from the comfortable and safe environment.  It is intimacy in its own way.  It is not the intimacy that comes from time and trust at the deepest of emotional levels.  It isn’t the intimacy that happens when people reveal themselves completely and allow another to see them for exactly who they are.  

This conversation was intimate in the degree of casualness.  It was intimate in that it wasn’t to have included me.    

And… maybe I am just reading way too much into this accidental voice mail that sent my mind wandering…

1 comment:

cathouse teri said...

I believe that normal, everyday phone conversations are elemental in nurturing intimacy in relationships. But you make great points about types of intimacy and how people may even mistake certain types of intimacy for the type they have in mind.

Good post.