My sweetheart and I have been discussing my bridge and my golf last night. He got upset with my lack of performance, or, more to the point, my lack of interest in improving my performance in either of the two. Whereas he is an absolute expert in the field of bridge and an ok amateur in golf, I am rubbish at both. But he didn’t so much get upset about my results, but more about the lack thereof in the light of the abilities, he assumes, I have. Suggesting, I better stop playing both, if I weren’t prepared to put in a minimum amount of effort into improving my skills.
Surprised by the intensity of his reaction, I tried to explain, that I simply know about the time and effort it takes to excell in each of the two games, at the same time being realistic about the amount of time and energy I have to spare.
From this moment on in, we were each talking our own talks. I heard and understood his main argument: being a teacher at heart, students, who didn’t perform to their abilities, always upset him most. It doesn’t matter, if someone simply isn’t able to excell. But it apparently does, if the student could do better, but wouldn’t. But I also heard and understood a subtext, that propably wasn’t implied by him, but a reverberation of something my mother used to say to me many a time: you are lazy.
There is this German term, that doesn’t translate at all, called “stinkfaul”. Well, the term itself translates nicely, meaning “lazy to the bone”. But the saying – often applied to me by my mom – using and transforming “stinkfaul”, literally meaning stinking lazy, doesn’t translate. Here it goes: “Es gibt Leute, die sind faul. Und es gibt Leute, die sind stinkfaul. Aber du, du bist zu faul um zu stinken.” (There are the lazy people. And then there are the stinking lazy. But you, you are too lazy to stink). Whenever she sayed that, her words were accompanied by some erratic action such as completely emptying out my closet, because she thought, I wasn’t keeping my wardrobe orderly enough, having me restack it again. Poor mom, this line of education never caught on, my wardrobe is in shambles to this day. Just goes to show, that there is some truth in what she was getting at, whether I like it or not.
Maybe this was the reason for me, to get so defensive last night. Rattling off, what amount of energy and time my daytime job affords. There I had hit a weak spot with my sweetheart, who doesn’t have to work for a living. Despite him always explaining that he is totally at ease with this, I suspect he is not. On such occasions he very often uses the term “Sozialneid” (social envy). Which, in turn, I think, is not fair, as I am really happy for him to be in such a situation and do benefit a lot from living with someone, who can afford the time to adjust to my crazy working scedule. But again, there might be some truth in his allegation, too. Sometimes I do wish, I would not have to toil as much. Have the time to do, what pleases me. Practising my bridge, or my golf, or both, for instance. But I suspect, I would much rather cultivate a substiantial piece of land, creating a big garden. Or spend as much time as it takes to make another perfect photograph. Maybe I would take up drawing and painting again. However, this line of daydreaming never lasts very long. As I have to work for a living.
As soon as I noticed, that we each were not talking to each other any more, but were just getting self-defensive, I changed the topic. There is no point in digging into each others soft spots, just to rectify ones own shortcomings, be they true or just imagined.
But this morning, I realise, how deep the sting still sits with me, feeling lazy and worthless once more. Well, at such times I have to pep-talk myself. It is ok not to practise ones bridge or golfing skills. And it is ok to just throw your Ts and pyjamas into a heap in the closet. Those shortcomings don’t define, who I am. Or maybe they do, to some extend. Just accept it, girl.