Mirror, mirror…

An unexpected visit from an old friend this week – she was flying into town on other business and took the opportunity to stop in and catch up a little.

We met somewhere along the way in our tweens – middle school, maybe?  Got much closer in late high school, and stayed connected through the college years and beyond.  We had an opportunity to meet last September, when she came to town for the 30th high school reunion.

Smart, accomplished, insightful and carrying the sort of professional responsibility that can break lesser souls.  She’s a police chief.  To me?  This is unimaginable stress, but she was born to do it.  Speaking of stress?  She birthed triplets almost 7 years ago, and is a devoted mother.

She arrived Thursday, after my busted business trip this week, and the ensuing lack of sleep… also lacking sleep due to her own set of airline travel disruptions due to weather.  We talked late into the night, through the exhaustion, over a couple of beers.  The sort of stream of consciousness babble that only old friends can manage…

Demons were presented, dissected, and studied.  Some old, some newer.  And a few still spewing fire, and hacking at us with sharp claws.

Discussing the perils of alcohol, and youth.  Binge drinking is a tremendous challenge to law enforcement officers, and she just dealt with an alcohol fueled death of a teenager.  i talked about my own challenges – dating back to the high school years.  And those of The Boy.  How i learned to manage them.  That he’s doing better…

daisyfae:  i had to learn my triggers. Know when i was susceptible.  Moments of stress, combined with a drinking environment.  But the key trigger?  Being with those few friends i trust with my life – knowing they will have my back when i lose the ability to make a rational decision.  i established ‘rules’ for myself.  Awareness.  i told those trusted friends what to watch for – lest they end up dealing with my sorry drunk ass again…  It works.

We continued the conversations the next day, digging in on our emotional walls.  Quite similar in our emotional inaccessibility, we have developed different strategies.  She has committed to one person – one alone has been let inside the fortress, and there shall be no others.  My approach?  Arms length, and a stiff arm at that.  Multiple companions, each with a built-in “barrier to committment”, i’m adept at keeping people out.

daisyfae:  To keep that distance, i’ve established some boundary conditions, in addition to those “barriers to commitment”.  Rule One has always been “no one spends the night”.  If you start having breakfast together?  It becomes all ‘relationshippy’.  Too intimate.  Too much like playing house. 

Chief K:  As long as you’re honest with all of them, I guess no one gets hurt.

daisyfae:  It’s part of the overall strategy, and seems to work.  So why have i invited Mr. X to stay over Saturday?  Not really just because he lives out-of-town… i think i’m reconsidering my rules.  Maybe it’s stupid and artificial, and i’m just kidding myself?

Chief K:  Rules aren’t always a bad idea.  You have the rules you place on yourself to avoid binge drinking…

daisyfae:  Yeah, that’s different.  That’s just to keep myself from getting hurt…

Chief K:  Ummm…. Yeah…