is the 8th of twelve articles for light holiday reading in my 2020 series of Tom's Summer Shorts. The tales are a blend of my real life experiences, professional insights, personal views and fun stories. My hope is that in them you find joy and inspiration.
“You look kind of silly doing that,” opined Wally as he wandered, cigar puffing, into my backyard where I was exercising by running on the spot.
“And you look kind of silly,” I quickly retorted through laboured gasps, “Poncing around with a smouldering roll of dried leaves in your gob!”
In the immediate silence that followed our humourously barbed exchange, I gave thought to how people can see themselves and situations in totally different lights from others.
There are those who are rigidly blinkered and only ever see things from their own point of view - never any other. Such people tend to be self-opinionated and selfish.
At the opposite end of the spectrum are the 'pleasers'; those who always succumb to the wishes of others. These folks lack confidence and have low self-esteem.
Between the two extremes there lies a vast range of personalities who see life from a variety of, and often constantly changing, perspectives. Such people, especially those consistantly towards the centre of the spectrum, could be said to be well balanced. They have the ability to appraise situations and the people enacting them as if in overview, from a position hovering above the scene rather than being anchored in it. This permits them flexibility of thought and action based on both self-interest and empathy.
It is reminiscent of the teaching of advanced driving. In these courses students are encouraged, not only to see their drive as themselves in the car and looking through the windscreen and mirrors, but also to view their journey globally, as if consulting a map from above. In this way they can observe, plan and take consideration of the situation and needs of all the other drivers around them. The mantra is to progress safely, smoothly and speedily on their journey while creating the circumstance which permits the other road users to do likewise. A case of being both assertive yet considerate. It's a pretty good way of working.
“Look Wally,” I continued, “I'm working out here. As you know I have no issue with you smoking. Anyone is free to ingest whatever they like into their own bodies, it's a basic freedom as far as I'm concerned and I'd never interfere in that. What I do ask is that you do your kind of 'puffing' in your own time and space and leave me to do my kind of 'puffing' in mine! - fair deal?”
Wally shrugged his shoulders indicating agreement and sauntered off. I resumed my running on the spot. As I did so I caught my reflection in the mirror strategically placed for the purpose. My friend did have a point. I looked kind of silly.
I am Tom Riach. I live and write in the sunny south of Portugal.
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LOOKING KIND OF SILLY is an original copyright Tom Riach feature.
I hope you enjoyed this Summer Short and found it to be of value.
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See you there! Regards, Tom.