Wednesday, February 11, 2009


You think you know what it means. You (like me, like everyone) undoubtedly believe that in your life, you have made many. You, the giver, the one who asks for less than her (his) fair share.

But it’s not true. In establishing a world order within our brain, we already prioritize ourselves. And we are forever bargaining for a better deal. Cheaper, nicer, easier, calmer, sweeter -- pick your preferences!

(Or bargaining for our preferred political platform, but I’m shying away from political metaphors today, even as compromise on the Hill was a big news item of this day.)

This is how it usually plays: you ask me for something big. Something that would put me out of my element. I say no and then I go on to mention how much I am already doing for you. But that’s not compromise. That’s me painting a noble portrait of my wonderfulness at the same time that I am telling you a flat no.

At this juncture, let me pause to show off the imminent departure of winter: wet bark against a gently hued sky.

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Good enough! Aren’t I easy to please?

Hogwash (a gentler form of bullshit). I’m not easy to please at all. I have my weather priorities and nothing will budge me from them and I would feel put upon if someone tried to convince me to live in even colder climates.

I made a small stop at La Baguette again. I said bonne journee because the owners are French and actually don’t mind humoring the customer who wants to feel like she is miles away from work and home. I picked up a warm baguette, took my picture and for a moment felt satisfied. Who needs Paris. I have Paris here. It says so on the wall!

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No, not really. Ocean readers would not be surprised to hear me say that I have an insatiable itch to wake up elsewhere, preferably in a place that has good coffee and warm-from-the-oven breads. For this, I would, well, make a hundred compromises. And admire my own willingness to barter away my life, my future, my security – just for that morning moment over coffee.

But is this really a compromise? No, it’s me indulging my own vision of what is heavenly and meaningful. Isn’t a compromise when you let go a significant chunk of your own euphoria and look for opportunities to indulge someone else’s vision of what is heavenly and meaningful?

[Thoughts from an early morning conversation with Ed on this very topic.]