[revised] guidance [from two years ago]

There is nothing where you are going.

What do you mean…nothing.

I mean what I say.

That means nothing.

I understand it to mean something.

I think it’s just something to say…

[shrugs]

But there are things here…around me.

Are you certain.

Yes.

Describe them.

Leaves scattered on the sidewalk. A car’s headlights flicking on in the predawn gloom. The distant whistle of a train.

And do these things have meaning to you.

I-I’m not sure.

Take a closer look.

Well, I notice them.

And what about faces—do you see faces.

They are obscured.

Do you wish to see them with more clarity—to distinguish one from another.

Perhaps.

Now it is you who are evasive.

It is in my nature.

And everything that came before—what happened between when you left and when you returned—is it now gone.

Yes, for the most part. I see only glimpses but I cannot bring it all into focus.

In those glimpses you see more than in what surrounds you now. The latter is of little consequence.

How do you know.

It does not matter. What matters is in between.

In between what.

The words.

the one and the other discuss regret

Hello, one.

Hello, other.

One, I’d like to tell you a story.

O joy! I love stories.

You might not love this one.

Hmm. Okay. Well, tell away, other.

A few days ago I was out driving…

Wait! cried the one. You don’t know how to drive, other.

That’s not important.

The one looked doubtful.

Look, I’m telling this story, one. And in the story I was driving. See?

O. Yes, I see, other.

So I was out driving. There I am in this big hunk of metal moving at 70 miles per hour. It was absurd.

O! We like the absurd, other!

Usually, yes…yes, we do, one. But this was not funny absurd. It was scary absurd. I mean, at any moment another hunk of metal could have veered into my hunk of metal and then I might have died.

O, yes, you are right, other, that is scary absurd. I would not have liked for you to die.

And the signs, the electronic signs kept shrieking at me.

What were they saying, other?

Always the same phrase, one: Nothing Super About Jail Drive Sober.

O. That is strange, other.

Anyway, after the signs stopped shrieking at me the sun began bleeding orange and yellow streaks all across the sky amid big puffs of blue and grey. It was so beautiful, one. It almost made me forget I was inside a big hunk of metal. And then, and then I saw something even more wondrous.

What was it! cried the one.

It was an enormous flock of geese, one. Hundreds, maybe even thousands, off to the side of the road in a big field. Some were the all white ones–

O! You mean Snow Geese, other!

Yes, and some were the other kind. The brown and black dingy looking ones that are everywhere now.

Canada Geese! sang the one.

Yes, yes! cried the other, excited now. And they were all swirling around, making their calls. And some were on the ground, poking around in the fields. It was quite a spectacle, one.

I bet it was, other, I bet it was.

Except now I am sad.

O no! Why are you sad, other?

Well, I didn’t stop my hunk of metal to take in the whole scene. I could have turned around and pulled over and gazed upon this sight for the precise number of minutes necessary to fully absorb a wonder of nature such as this, one. Also there may have been some unusual or rare geese in the flock, but I didn’t take the time to look for them.

O. Hmm. Yes, I can see how that might make you feel sad, other.

It’s a strange sort of sadness, one. Do you know it?

Yes, I do, other. I believe they call this special type of sadness regret.

I do not like this regret feeling, one. How do I stop it? Can I maybe stuff something down inside me? Chocolate perhaps?

I’m not sure, other, the one said gravely. I think you have to wait and hope for it to fade away. Chocolate never hurts, of course, but I’m not sure it’s strong enough to fix this.

Well, how can I avoid it in the future then? I do not want this regret feeling ever again, one, never ever.

I’m not sure you can totally avoid it, other! But you can try to take every opportunity that comes to you, and that way at least you have tried.

O, will I then not feel sad? Even if I try to take the opportunity but don’t make it? Even if I…fail?

I can’t promise you won’t feel sad, other. But your sadness will likely feel different than regret. It will be mixed in with the satisfaction of knowing you tried. So that might make it feel not so bad.

O, thank you, one! I think this was very helpful. You are so wise!

I’m glad, other! I am always happy to help.

Goodbye, one!

Goodbye, other! Until next time.

______________________________

For more discussions between the one and the other, click here.

the interview

Hello, I’m here for a job interview.

Oh, are you.

Yes, I was called in. I have an appointment.

Hmph. I doubt that.

Excuse me?

That’s not how we work. We don’t call people in. We don’t do that.

But I received a message. It said to come in. Today. This morning.

Who was the message from.

I don’t know. Some person.

Does this person have a name.

I don’t remember. I deleted the message. Isn’t there an appointment schedule you can check? Or maybe there is someone else I can speak with?

I’m afraid not. Just me here today. And there is no appointment schedule because, as I said, we don’t call people in. We’re not that kind of place. We don’t work that way.

But you are hiring…

We might be looking to fill a position, yes. It’s a possibility. Not my specific area, mind you, but I’ve heard things, you know, in the hallways.

Well, this is confusing. Should I come back then? Is there a time today when someone who might know more about this will be around?

It’s difficult for me to say. After all, I don’t want to make an empty promise. I don’t want to say, ‘Yes, come back at 1 o’clock,’ only to disappoint you if no one is here.

Oh, well, should I come back at 1 then?

Did it sound like you should come back at 1?

I’m not sure. Maybe?

No one will be here at 1. That was just an example.

Fine. Then when will someone else be here? Perhaps someone more helpful.

Are you saying I’m not helpful.

More helpful. I said more helpful. I understand this isn’t your specialty, but I am interested in the job and would like to follow through on the interview.

What interview. I told you, we don’t do that. We don’t hold interviews.

Okay, fine. I’m leaving now. Maybe I will try back again later when someone else is around.

Good luck with that. Have a nice day.

[front door closes]

[coworker enters from stage left, sits down]

Was that the applicant leaving?

Yes.

I see. Have you made a decision?

Let’s just say the position is still open.

Any particular reason why? We can’t delay hiring much longer.

Well, you know what they say…some people just don’t interview well at all.

Hmm. Yes, I have heard that. Fine, then. Will you call the next one on the list? And make sure to enter the appointment in the schedule this time so I know when to be here.

I certainly will.

the one and the other discuss wonder

What did you see today, other, asked the one.

I saw a tiny warbler bathing in the bird bath.

Oh! And how was that.

It pleased me in a way that I don’t often feel.

How, how did it please you, other.

Hmm. I don’t know if I can articulate it. It filled me with wonder.

That sounds good.

Yes, it was good, one.

Tell me, other, why are you not often filled with wonder.

I’m not sure. Lack of the right stimulation, I guess.

What is the right stimulation, other. Is it like how so many of our dreams go to childhood, where everything was a wonder, and our minds were not yet full of life-junk or maybe they were but it had not yet come crashing in on us.

Yes! It is like that. I think of roads, roads I traveled on as a kid, staring out from the backseat, and I looked off the road to what was beyond and I imagined myself there so many, many times that it was as if I really had been there, in the beyond, even if I never really had. And those are the roads I travel in my dreams, over and over.

The roads of wonder.

Yes.

Other, do you think there are still roads of wonder out there, for us to travel on, now…

I hope so, one. I really do. It is that hope that keeps us going, right.

Yes, that and the absurd, other…do not forget the absurd!

O right. Yes, we do take much delight in the absurd, don’t we, one.

It’s all around us. Were we not to take delight in it, it would surely drown us, other.

Plasticity of the mind. We must focus on the still-plastic parts of our minds, one!

Anteaters.

Yes, indeed. How long have you been saving that one up.

At least since this morning. Goodnight, other.

Goodnight, one.

the one and the other dance in the rain

Hello, one.

Hello, other.

It’s raining today.

Yes…wait, are we doing this on Tuesdays now.

I don’t know. Is that a problem.

Well, you know how I am about change…it makes me nervous.

Yes, that’s true…I do know that. But is this really such a big change.

Sometimes it’s not the size of the change, other. Sometimes it’s just how I feel inside.

Maybe it’s the rain.

It could be…is there something we can do about that…

We could dance in it!

Oh!

What do you think.

I like it but I’m feeling shy…

Well, I am rusty, if that makes you feel better.

Do you know the steps.

No…let’s just wing it.

Okay. I just want to feel free, you know.

I know.

Thank you, other.

It’s why I’m here, one.

Maybe it will be a misty rain!

I hope so…let’s go.

Okay.

[interlude of wet frenetic dancing]

I feel so much better, other!

I know! That was fantastic!

We should dance more often.

We really should.

Will you remind us.

I’ll try.

Goodbye, other!

‘Til next time!

the one and the other discuss the weather

What is up with this winter, other.

I don’t know, one, but it is a strange one for sure.

I have a bad feeling that this winter is going to be like last winter where I felt so unworthy of spring!

Ah, yes, I remember…you were in a state, one, a real fragile state.

I know! cried the one. What ever will I do if it is like that again?

We’ll make it through together. Please don’t worry, one.

Oh thank you, other, thank you…you are too sweet. Tell me again how you got to be so sweet. Tell me the story. Tell me, other, telllll meeeee!

I took a distance learning course!

Wheee! You are ridiculous, other. Did I ever tell you that?

Yes, one…many times! But now I must go lie down.

Ohhh…do you have a sadness in you today, other?

Yes, one, I do.

Can I help?

Just your being here is helping. The way I feel you listening even when there are no words, one…that means so much.

I’m glad, other, I really am…but this sadness, see, I just want to wring its spiny little neck! I want to banish it!

I appreciate that, one. I really do.

But does it ever go away, other? The sadness…does it…does it ever leave you…

Not really…there are always traces. But it helps to not feel so alone with it.

I like to help you, other. I don’t always understand but it’s okay, right?

Of course it is! You help me so much, one. Now, where is that chocolate bar you’ve been saving for emergencies…

the one and the other tackle tuesdays

Hello Other!

Hello One!

How are you.

I’m okay. And yourself?

Well, I am glad we busted out of that place they locked us up in.

Yes, me too. It felt so ignominious there. That was clever of you to prop that door open.

Why thank you. So, other….it appears that this is a Tuesday. Usually we are in the habit of convening here on Mondays.

Hmm…I believe you are correct.

What do you think about Tuesdays, other?

Well, it’s my understanding that they are generally neutral.

Other! That is not what I asked! How do you feeeeel about them, other.

Okay…well, the icy horror of Monday has begun to fade a bit. I think Tuesdays are akin to sitting in a tepid bath. The top of one’s body is still chilly and the lower parts are only mildly warm.

Good analogy, other! I think you have something there. I hate tepid baths. They are of no use to me.

So what do we do now. I don’t feel much like griping about Tuesdays.

I know. It’s a conundrum. And I feel unsettled by the sounds of someone trying to saw a hole  into our space here.

Yes, what is that? Is it the telltale saw of Monday still chiseling and chipping away at our souls?

Could be.  All I know is I want it to stop.

Maybe it won’t until Wednesday. What a horrible thought.

Other?

Yes?

What do you think would happen if a being with no feelings came together with a being with too many feelings?

I’m not sure. I think it would be difficult. I think each being would need to be careful to avoid becoming a spectator to the other’s unique pain. They would each need to learn how to speak the other’s language. Wait…are you talking about us?

I don’t know.

More of The One and the Other.

the one and the other totally lose it

I feel despondent, said the one.

I know, said the other.

The weather is outstanding, said the one.

Yes, said the other.

And yet…

Yes?

I feel despondent.

I know. You mentioned that…

And you said you know! How, how did you know, other? cried the one.

I know you, replied the other.

We should be outside, shouldn’t we, said the one.

Probably.

When we were outside…before…I didn’t feel quite so…hopeless, whispered the one.

This isn’t just about Mondays, is it, said the other.

I don’t…think…so, said the one.

It goes deeper, doesn’t it, asked the other.

Yes, yes, so deep, like a filthy jungle pit! cried the one.

Take my hand, one, take it, said the other.

Oh, thank you, thank you.

I don’t know if I have enough chocolate to cure you today, said the other gravely.

I need some of that special prescription chocolate, the one moaned. The kind they keep locked up behind the counter.

What are you talking about?

You know…the SPECIAL chocolate. It’s so strong they keep it locked up.

You are worse off than I thought, muttered the other.

I just need to get through this rough patch, other, the one pleaded. I need to know if I can count on you.

Of course you can! You know that! cried the other.

Don’t shout at me! yelled the one. I’m in a fragile state.

We need to stretch our joints, the other announced. That’s what we need.

My brain stopped, replied the one. It just stopped…back there…I don’t know.

Let’s run like wild horses, one, like wild flippin’ horses! screamed the other.

Yes! Of course! We’ve been in a slow trot here, of course. More like a gallop, yessireee, that’s what we need. I feel better already.

I changed my mind. We’re both axehandle hounds now. Let’s go eat some axe handles.

Nooo…the woodsmen will kill us!!

Wait…what’s that?

What?

That monkey.

Why, other, that is the inkpot monkey, of course!

What is it doing?

It’s waiting for us to finish talking so it can drink the rest of the ink in the inkpot.

Oh, it’s very patient, isn’t it.

Yes.

[slurp]

More of The One and the Other.

the one and the other discuss monday holidays

Today is Monday but it’s also a holiday, said the one.

Indeed, said the other.

How do you feel about that, asked the one.

Eh, I’m noncommittal, replied the one. Sunday becomes Saturday, Monday becomes Sunday, it never ends.

But…are we supposed to hate Monday holidays? pleaded the one.

The other frowned. I don’t think so.

It’s also September now, noted the one.

Yes, replied the other.

The blobs have returned to their indoctrination centers, reported the one.

Ah, yes. I see them in the mornings now, replied the other.

Other, whispered the one.

Yes?

Are you afraid of dying?

No, stated the other.

Why not? cried the one.

Because I like sleeping, replied the one.

The one frowned. But you don’t wake up from death!

That’s fine, said the other. It’s like…ultimate sleep, you know? Sleep deluxe.

I guess, said the one. Do you mean…every time we go to sleep, it’s like a little visit from death?

Exactly, replied the other.

Oh, good. I was afraid death would be more like Sundays, said the one.

How so? asked the other.

Well, you know what Sundays are like, said the one. I even wrote a bad poem about it once! No one wanted to publish it.

Morrissey wrote a song about that, said the other.

Everyday is like Sunday! screamed the one.

Everyday is silent and grey! shouted the other.

The one frowned. But it’s not Sunday.

I know, replied the other. But remember how today is a holiday so actually today is Sunday, for all intents and purposes.

O, right! said the one.

Here, have some chocolate chips, said the other. Chocolate improves mood.

CHOCOLATE! screamed the one, inhaling chips like a vacuum.

Okay, I think you’ve had enough, said the other.

In your face, Sundays AND Mondays! shouted the one with glee.

Gimme those chips back, you fiend! yelled the other.

Not ’til Tuesday! yelled the one.

Fair enough, said the other. But I’ll be expecting cookies later…

More of The One and the Other.

the one and the other in monday denial

Hello Other!

Hello One.

What’s on tap for today? asked the one.

Please don’t use that phrase. I don’t like it, said the other.

Certainly, replied the one.

Are you feeling badly? asked the one tentatively.

The other sighed. This banter is beginning to read like a Garfield comic strip.

Oh, right, replied the one. Garfield hated Mondays! He would hide under his blanket in his cat box. Not a bad idea actually.

Yes, agreed the other. How do you cope with Mondays, one?

Well, I hang out with you, of course, said the one. But I also read books and listen to music! I’m not very productive at work on Mondays in case you were wondering.

Well, that’s your business, said the other.

Perhaps they will fire me, said the one.

It’s always possible, replied the other.

I think it would be a relief, frankly, said the one.

Frankly, Mr. Shankly, said the other.

This position I’ve held…It pays my way, and it corrodes my soul!! sang the one.

I want to leave, you will not miss me…I want to go down in musical history!! shouted the other.

Wheeee, said the one.

I had a lot of weird dreams this weekend, said the other suddenly.

Dreams are good. I love them! said the one.

Dreams repel Mondays. They are the anti-Monday! said the other, excited now.

What else can we do to destroy Mondays? I want to smash them to bits! said the one.

Maybe we can sneak up on Mondays…like on Sunday nights, and stab them in the back with an ice pick??!! shrieked the other.

Yes! Yes! Kill the beast! Cut his throat! Spill his blood! shouted the one.

Wait. Is Monday the beast…or the deserted island? asked the other.

Who cares! screamed the one. Slit its throat!

Okay, settle down, said the other.

Why?? You started this! yelled the one.

Here, have some pretzels, said the other.

Okay. Pretzels are good, replied the one.

This conversation never happened, said the other.

I know, said the one.

More of The One and the Other.

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