Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Can I get a resolution. . .?
With all the trouble in the world- all the conflict and violence, all the loss of truth and justice- I've decided to participate in U.N. -based training in Conflict Management and Conflict Resolution. According to my studies, it seems that conflict arises from a lack of communication and by opening the door of communication, you can peacefully resolve conflicts.
Since I've moved to Amsterdam I've been living with a younger guy from New York. He's a staunch, inexperienced Republican. His use of language and manners can best be described as barbaric, literally- he holds his fork like an ape, has no consideration for my feelings and has repeatedly 'borrowed' food without replacing it. Why are we living together? Simply? Economy. It's a bitch to survive here in Amsterdam on a PhD salary. But with a room mate, it's possible.
When I first moved in with this guy, I thought he was nice. I brought him out to meet my friends and we got to know each other a little. The second time I brought him out with me he let his politics fly. Remember, I'm an anarch0feminist. My friends are equally as 'liberal'- most of them being Dutch, Spanish, etc. My room mate got drunk and really and truly offended my friends. . .which, really was due to his inexperience. He was talking about poverty, etc and my opinion is, unless you have worked with the poor, lived in some sort of poverty, and have had to raise yourself up out of poverty- you cannot talk about poverty! Anyway, this was the beginning of the cold war.
Following this event, he tried to spend time with my friends (without me there as a buffer) to which he received a cold shoulder. They don't have the respect for him that they do for me. Also, during this time, I must say that I never said that I hate my room mate. I don't hate him. I find him inexperienced and a bit selfish and whiny, but I don't hate him.
During the summer I had a friend from Spain stay with us which earned my room mate and I 300 euro each (over two months). Nice. This moved my room mate and I into phase II of the cold war. Spending a lot of time with Ri at gay bars, etc., excluded and isolated my room mate. I definitely felt more isolated from him.
After Ri left for Spain (September); I had my friend Jan come visit followed by my partner. He made plans to go to Greece when my partner was in town so he wouldn't have to deal with our gayness. Strange, but appreciated. We had the apartment to ourselves.
Since the end of September, my room mate and I have been living in the strange sort of silence. . .that is, until Saturday.
I woke up Saturday to:
That bastard! I can't believe he would do that! I hear the rumbling of paper in the kitchen. Mother fucker! What a prick! (etc. etc. etc.)
Lying in my bed, in immense fear, I start thinking of all the possible things I could have done wrong. I knew he was talking about me, but what did I do (thinking about the fact that I swore like that about him last Thursday when he drank my beer without asking)? So, I got up to shower and leave the house- as was my usual reaction to such irrational behavior- unless it's mine.
After my shower and a long internal speech to myself, I realized it was time for me to open up the lines of communication. Conflict avoidance was clearly not working. It was time for some conflict management and resolution!
After my shower, I went to my room mate and began to speak. . .
"I heard you swearing this morning, did I do something to piss you off?
Cue the tumble weeds and sounds of crickets chirping.
Me: Hello? Are you pissed at me?
Him:Uh, well, no man. I washed my passport in with my jeans today and the thing is shredded.
Me, Thinking that it's weird to be talking about yourself in the third person while pissed at yourself: Oh, so you were talking about yourself this morning
Him: No, everything was just a big deal this morning, I'm OK now.
Me: So what did I do to piss you off?
Me: Seeing that he is pissed off even talking to me. Well, if you need to talk about something, please let me know. I can't live in a house with no peace. You have to tell me if things piss you off. If this relationship is going to work out, we need to communicate.
Him: Yeah, good luck with that.
So, I left, went to the center and got drunk with my friends. I really tried to resolve this cold war, hostility building bullshit that's going on at home. The question is:
How can I get a resolution if the other side won't cooperate?