Friday, February 23, 2007

Gala Day! And Buttons.

Today's mail brought all kinds of great stuff: my new scrubs, two new pashmina-and-silk shawls I ordered on sale (one black, one red), and my contributor's copies of The Fate of Mice. Yippee! I now have actual books!

I'm in the process of making some interesting plans for next week. On Monday, I'll be getting together for coffee with the medical-humanities person at the UNR med school, who's interested in hearing about my volunteer work. She read my blog entry on Charon, whose visit she was instrumental in hosting, and enjoyed it.

On Friday, I'll be doing a video interview podcast at the UNR bookstore to promote FoM. One of my students will be one of the interviewers, so it should be fun, if slightly nerve-wracking. I'll post a link here when the podcast is up.

I have a lot of stuff to do between those two events, in addition to the usual teaching. It's going to be a busy week!

In the meantime, I just ironed out a misunderstanding with a dear friend whose buttons got pushed by some of the chaplaincy material on the blog. She had a hideous experience with a hospital chaplain when she was in her twenties, and sent me sharply worded e-mail about how a chaplain's help would be the last thing she'd want if she were ill or waiting for bad news. The initial e-mail didn't mention her own history, though, so I thought she was criticizing me personally. That pushed my buttons, not only for the obvious reasons but because I've had two long-term friendships implode at roughly this time of year. Both of those disasters were sparked by e-mail misunderstandings, and both culminated with the erstwhile friends telling me exactly what they'd thought of me -- not much, in either case -- for many years beforehand. Both were situations where people I loved a lot wound up delivering very hurtful laundry lists of everything they thought was wrong with me.

So when I got my friend's e-mail last night, my first thought was, Oh, s***, here we go again. But after a few more rounds of e-mail and a phone conversation this morning, all is well. Once my friend told me about her chaplain-from-hell experience, I had a much better sense of where she was coming from; once I told her about my imploding-friendships experience, she had a much better idea of where I was coming from. She hadn't intended to hurt my feelings and was upset that she'd done so -- and agreed that the original comments were "harsh" -- and I was inordinately relieved that she hasn't, in fact, secretly loathed me for many moons (that appears to be what was going on with the other two people, although I'll probably never know for sure).

Whew! Hey, this communication stuff's really a godsend, when it actually works.


  1. Anonymous6:12 PM

    Namaste Susan.

  2. Internet communication can be great, or a challenge. It's always great when things work out, and things are figured out. I've had both the good and the bad experiences.

    I ordered The Fate of Mice from Amazon, but at this point don't quite know when it will be delivered.I'm looking forward to reading it when it comes though.

  3. Yikes. Two friends?! :-(

    I've had to teach myself to always, always put the most charitable spin on e-mails and other Internet communications I receive because I've gotten in too many fights with people over stuff that we wouldn't have fought about in real life. Not that I always remember to do it. But I haven't lost two long-term friends. That sucks.

    By the way, I'm about 200 pages into The Necessary Beggar and I'm really enjoying it.

  4. Nickie: Thanks for ordering the book!

    Elliot: I'm glad you're enjoying TNB!

    Re the two friends: in both cases, obviously, there were other factors, and warning signs I should have heeded long before, not to mention missteps on both sides. (I don't think I'm quite as horrible as either laundry list made me out to be, but I'm certainly not perfect.) And in both cases, significantly, other people have had similar problems with the individuals in question. But both episodes left me shaken and wary, and pretty gun-shy about getting close to people. Which is really sad, you know?

  5. I don't know about you, but more than once (a lot more than once!) I've got to the end of an email response and then, just before pressing 'send' thought 'are you sure? Do you really mean that?'

    Just about every computerised action that might do damage has the second message 'are you sure you want to do that?' but not email 'send'.


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