Monday, February 18, 2008

The red plastic skittle

You see; me and my brother; when of 8 and 12; had a fight over who gets the best of the three cabinets we got in our new room. I must say this was only one of the many fights we always had over bowls with bigger helpings of the dessert and over window seats on buses. But this time; we also had this red plastic skittle. Something that was made in three pieces that you set one over another; and then it tumbled in whole or just lose its top depending on how you shot at it with a rubber arrow gun. The gun; we'd broken in no time. And now we didn't know what we could do with the skittle. And tired as we were, of our fighting; we drew up this little peace pact. We put all our stuff which we deemed precious; our best pencils, drawing books, draw-out-and-pull-string story books and so on. Together, Undivided, into a common pool we could both draw out of. And we set the skittle in the living room corner. Whenever either one of us were mad at the other; all we had to do was unsettle the skittle. This was to act as a clarion call; to huddle up under the tree in the backyard and... negotiate. The run-away clause was that we'd have to divided back our stuff if the negotiations were to fail.

We were lucky this felt like a game for the first few days; and we had fun even fighting and making up :-). And by the time we had bigger fights; we'd already built on our common treasure and every addition meant furthering the complication that dividing our stuff amongst us was to be. And this kept us going at the "game". Over time; ganging up under the tree already meant part success. I could do it without facing my brother; without yelling and being yelled at; without feeling helpless and multiplying my madness for feeling so.

I didn't particularly like Susan Scott's "Fierce Conversations" (ISBN 0 7499 2381 4) for its repetitiveness; but I presume this is what she meant by "Emotional Wake". Or close. I've always seen that there's a better chance of dealing with people; when we are conscious of ourselves and of the whole exchange. I have always had difficulty discussing my life with my dad; but then he is always another person when I speak to him in his home office. And so am I. It was like we have secretly and unconciously agreed on being fair with each other around his swivel chair.

These days, when I have problems at work in keeping my patience; or I rage up in traffic and yell; I shall have to try more to see that skittle unsettled. I am hoping to "wake" myself up :-). And for waking some else up in a conversation; I guess its not without a reason that I was always amazed by that little play...

Knock knock
Who's there?
Red Skittle.
Red Skittle who?
Red Skittle who wakes you.

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