I’m having an argument with myself.
One day I was driving back home from a volunteer event at Boys & Girls Harbor in La Porte. And on the feeder overpass of Beltway 8 near Mykawa I was listening to a band called Sleeping at Last, and I fell asleep. (So weird because I wasn’t sleepy, but maybe it was the hot chocolate I’d had at Starbucks that morning.)
My tire hit the side of the feeder overpass, I woke up within a second of falling asleep, there were cars in front of and behind me, and somehow I made my way down to the flat part of the feeder road and pulled over with nothing more than a flat tire.* And my brother and friend Stayson were just minutes behind me and could help because they had been leaving the same event.
But that’s not what this story is about. It’s about the band, Sleeping at Last, whose music to which I happened to fall asleep. I’ve enjoyed their music for years.
The other day on Amazon Prime I gave them a listen and heard this song called Turning Page. I’m not into love ballads, but I am when these guys do one. I liked this song so much, I started to practice it on our 1986 Yamaha keyboard, whose piano setting for some reason sounds like an out-of-tune harmonica.
I soon realized from a YouTube tutorial where the guy’s keyboard keys light up when he plays them that the song is the track to the wedding on the movie Twilight.
Bleh. I thought it was going to be my secret little song by a little band that wasn’t well known. Not a popular movie soundtrack that teens and tweens swoon over.
But about that argument with myself.
One of the lines is:
“Nothing makes me stronger than your fragile heart.”
I thought, oh, that’s interesting. He finds a deeper, previously unknown strength that arises when his boo is sad or feeling worn down. That’s a great tenet of a strong relationship, whether felt in a male or female.
Then I thought <play record-stopping sound effect here>, oh hold on, should I think he’s referring to the historically accepted but now ridiculed and offensive notion that women are fragile and that he thrives off of that fragility so he can be a hero? As in, “It would be my privilege to to be the knight in shining armor your fragile countenance so desperately requires.”
After arguing with myself I decided I don’t think that’s what the song means. I receive the line as a display of being ready to care for someone when they need it.
But I was thinking about how when we say just about anything, there is a context to it that we have in our minds that is not fully known to the person hearing it.
We often rely on that person to assume a similar context. Otherwise we change what we are saying to make it clearer to that person based on their own context. Same message, different presentation of the message.
This can be frustrating and draining if you live in a world where most people don’t have the same assumptions or context as you.
This can be taken for granted when people around you usually do have the same assumptions or context as you.
I once had a grad school professor who discussed this idea through the lens of phenomenology and taken-for-granted assumptions.
But that’s a post for another day.
*By the way, I don’t like Oxford commas, but I’ve decided to use them in life for the sake of consistency and clarity. (But sometimes I don’t, just for fun.)