Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Let's take a lifetime to say

For some reason, one line of "For all we know" by the Carpenters has been bubbling around in my head an awful lot lately:

"Let's take a lifetime to say 'I knew you well'..."

Out of the blue, I find myself humming this to myself. I have no idea why. In fact, I don't even know how I know this song. Regardless, it's had me thinking about how there is always something more to learn about someone you may have been positive you know completely.


Growing up, my mother always reminded me to leave the curtains drawn. I always thought it had to do with the intense Texas sun being in direct conflict with efficient air conditioning. It wasn't until a few years ago that I learned the real reason -- my mom dislikes natural light. What?! I don't remember how it came up, but when it did I couldn't understand how it had never come up before then. I have missed out on years and years of teasing her about being a vampire just because I assumed everyone else must naturally love the same things I do.


I've known my friend Anna for years now. Again, I don't know how it came up in conversation but I remember her asking "Did I tell you about the time I had to walk on people to get to work?" What?! How could this have not come up before? Could it be because a few others of the thousands and thousands of stories that accumulate during a lifetime were queued up in line ahead of this one detail?


Today I asked Ruth if her husband of many years (Brother Blue) ever still managed to surprise her. Her answer was an immediate yes. Recently, they were watching the Olympics together and Blue was commenting on the divers' style, form, and general performance. When she asked how he learned to critique diving, he explained that he used to be a diver himself. That was a surprise to her.

Someone listening in on the conversation asked Ruth how long she and Blue have been married. Ruth's answer was "long enough that I should have known that." :)


I am beginning to believe there is an asymptotic curve toward knowing someone thoroughly. Somewhere along that curve, around the place where you've learned enough to decide whether you want to continue on the curve or just hop off, is the space where you might be able to say "I know you well".

I hope you remember to add, "but I can know you better."

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