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July 17th, 2007

en passant

Sometimes I think about choices I made with a sense of mild regret and yet a sense of insight. I've never had much patience for the mode of thinking which always has some reason why a perfectly rational choice was in fact the result of happenstance or unavoidable destiny. I know perfectly well that I make choices every day, based on my assessment of the situation, and that many go well, and some go decidedly non-swimmingly.

One thing I have found-everyone has a reason. There's a logical explanation for the most monstrous choices. The universe operates according to this incredible pattern of self-justification. I ate that rare and precious tree frog, making it extinct, because I was hungry, says the snake. He's perfectly right, by his own lights.

I know the sense of self-acceptance that comes from saying "I wouldn't change a thing". After all, one's own pristine dysfunction arises squarely from one's dysfunctional choices. But let me declare forthrightly that if I had an eraser, and a no. 2 pencil, well sharpened, I might change a thing or two in my past choices.

What would I take back? More than a few cross words. A little over-eager forthrightness. A spur of the moment decision, or two.

I think it's an arrogance to imagine that one can puppet-master one's world into a completely difference place through a kind word or two in season. But I wonder if the right kind word or two might not have helped in ways commensurate with my limitations.

I love the memory of feeling so right, just before saying something I later regret.
It's like making the perfect chess move--and then, just after moving, realizing it drops a key piece, and maybe the game.