Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Communication With Alien-Robots - Fuel for All Healthy Relationships (Humor & Frankness)


"If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on."
-Steve Jobs


Here's a little ditty I wrote up a while back about the importance of communication (including humor and frankness) in every relationship (not just romantic relationships, but your important  friendships, workout partners and professional relationships too).

For the many of you who have suggested to Kate & I that you personally believe we have "a perfect relationship" consider this your wake-up call. Kate & I (in our 11+ years together) have had fights about everything: from simple driving directions to who's doing the dishes and even occasionally a dozy over mayonnaise (well, Vegenaise actually... Valentine's Day 2002, seriously). What we always come back to is full communication and personal responsibility. While I won't be wowing any of you with some amazing demonstration of my own personal responsibility in this post (Kate is the one being incredibly generous in the interaction below, I'm just the @$$hole trying to be RIGHT), I thought you might get some joy, amusement & laughter out of our "dishes fight" from over 3-years ago, and how we had our moment of anger & frustration, but we brought back the authentic communication and playful levity to the situation. The net result is that I ended up doing the dishes as a performance art. Kate even videotaped me doing the dishes so she could watch it over and over again (and her "you NEVER do the dishes" argument is out the window).

As always, I have expressed, written consent from Kate that this email chain be published, so please forgive the colorful language and know we're BOTH behind you reading this. For our own amusement & sanity.

BEFORE you read this, understand that we had some other similar nothing fight a couple of weeks prior, and Kate wrote me the opening email apologizing for being mean and nasty. So the email chain starts there (with me being an a-hole trying to be righteous, yuck)...
Sometimes, the aftermath of a fight is downright delicious.

********BEGIN EMAIL CHAIN********
From: Kate
Sent: July 28
To: Jimmy
Subject: I'm a jerk

Jimmy,
By acting and thinking from fear, worry, blame, upset and focusing on what's missing/wrong. That is exactly what I create. I do this to put the responsibility on you, to sabotage our connection and to prove that I am 'alone'. It's hogwash. Bullshit. Lame.

Since last night when I treated you poorly, I could not sleep, I had bad dreams, I missed my run, my ear is worse, I had no time for coffee. Basically everything falls apart when I don't take care of you and our relationship.

You have my word that I will treat you with respect, love, care, nurture and come from a creative and inspiring space.

I'm sorry for being an ass.

I hope you have a great day, please know that I love you, I'm here for you.

K8

**************************
From: Jimmy
Sent: August 13
To: Kate
Subject: FW: I'm a jerk

Kate,
Please read this. It's from July 28th. Psssst, that's two weeks ago.

Jimmy

*************************
From: Kate
Sent: August 13
To: Jimmy

Seriously, what the hell is my fucking problem?

K8

**************************
From: Jimmy
Sent: August 13
To: Kate

You aren't willing to sit in the impact (of your words and actions). You aren't willing to be uncomfortable and communicate everything and be truly vulnerable. You might actually get betrayed and hurt and abused and used that way! 

I'm a bad, mean, angry SCARY PERSON!!!! Maybe I'm the BOOGEY MAN!!!! BOOOOO!!!!

Jimmy

*************************
From: Kate
Sent: August 13
To: Jimmy

I fucking love you.

K8

***************************
From: Jimmy
Sent: August 13
To: Kate

"Seriously, what the hell is my fucking problem?"

I have another idea. Maybe your fucking problem is you are truly UNWILLING to be human? Maybe you really ARE an alien robot?

It's okay, Kate. You can BE HONEST. If you really ARE an alien robot, I'm willing to accept that now. I'll even go back with you to your planet for experimentation. I give up. I really DO love you no matter what. I'm hopeless.

Jimmy

******************************
From: Kate
Sent: August 13
To: Jimmy

I kind of feel bad for you, loving a robot is tough. I guess that explains why you like to run ultras. You thrive on pain, endurance, torture and insanity.

I'll book the flights for us to Zyborg tomorrow. One way is okay right?

K8

********************************
From: Jimmy
Sent: August 13
To: Kate

I surrender, Zyborgian robot alien. You are picking an odd specimen, but whatever, better me than someone else I guess... high pain tolerance.

One way is fine. But clearly your planet has a far more advanced internet. Can I still communicate with my family and maintain a BLOG from afar? Or do you replace me with a Jimmy-robot so people won't know I'm gone?

Did you see my post on my plans for this evening? And your plans for the moment you get home?

Jimmy

*************************************
From: Kate
Sent: August 13
To: Jimmy

You are the perfect specimen. You may maintain your blog and relationships, but there will be a Jimmybot put in place physically.

I did happen to just read your post.

I'm really sorry for losing my cool man. I look forward to seeing you tonight.

K8

**************************************
From: Jimmy
Sent: August 13
To: Kate

Can I post this ENTIRE email as a BLOG?

Jimmy

**************************************
From: Kate
Sent: August 13
To: Jimmy

Sure, why the hell not. We won't be on this planet for much longer anyway.

Speciman.

K8

********END OF EMAIL CHAIN********

The MORAL of the story: Even if you are an alien robot, or are about to be kidnapped by an alien robot, COMPLETE COMMUNICATION and willingness to make fun of ourselves is the key to a healthy relationship.

AND yes, I'll FINALLY admit it:

"I should have just done the damn dishes."*

*it would have taken a hell of a lot less energy and time than this email chain, blog post, and fighting against alien robots who will win in the end anyway.

I love my wife. Even if she is an alien robot...


*****************************************************
POST UPDATE (1-day later)
*****************************************************

Sexy albino me. You can't UN-SEE this.
For those of you who missed the punch-line on this 3-years ago, I ended up doing the dishes as "performance art". My friend Seth told me that there was some survey that reported 3-out-of-4 women were asked if they'd rather watch their man do dishes or dance naked, and 75% of them answered dishes. We have the birth of 'chore-play'.

I did the dishes while Kate watched me, and I only wore some 70's style NIKE dolphin shorts (see: photo to the right, and you're welcome). I also had to sing to her ("Bare Necessities" from the Jungle Book). She filmed part(s) of it. Then we made up, officially... but, alas, I now communicate with you from ZYBORG. I'm not sure if it's really nice here or if I'm in one of those virtual reality machine-thingies...


*****************************************************
POST UPDATE (3.5-years later)
*****************************************************
Zyborg is amazing.  I hope the Jimmybot they left behind is holding things together well.  I miss seeing ALL of you...
View from a mountain peak outside of Agnapot, on the planet Zyborg...
PS - a simple tip my amazing sister Sarah gave me for relationship harmony:
IF your partner makes a request and it takes less than 10-15 minutes to fulfill, you should always say yes. Just give up the thoughts you have about who did that chore last time, how tired you are, or how mad you might be over something else. This simple act of generosity will take far less time and energy than saying NO or resisting doing something that could alter the day/evening, where yes could make all the difference.


PPS - if YOU (reader) are a single dude and you made it ALL THE WAY through this long-winded post, check out a well written piece by David DeAngelo about the Top 10: Ways To Be The Man Women Want (seriously, it's a great piece) from AskMen.com
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