Dialogue from The Big Chill
Michael: I don’t know anyone who could get through the day without two or three juicy rationalizations. They’re more important than sex.
Sam: Ah, come on. Nothing’s more important than sex.
Michael: Oh yeah? Ever gone a week without a rationalization?
Rationalization, Not Denial
“You interrupted me tonight. A lot.” She tossed the accusation into the chill space between us in the car on the way home. “Everybody noticed. Did you see the way they all looked at me?” Her favorite means of leverage in an argument. Everyone on her side, no one on mine. “Well, if you would take a breath between words, maybe someone else could speak without talking over you,” I sulked as we pulled into the driveway. “We’ve been through this before. You talk too slow.” “Slowly,” I mentally corrected her, rolling my eyes as I walked to the front door without turning.
As she crossed the threshold, I turned and spoke deliberately, “It’s not my fault. You just never let me get a word in edgewise.” Snorting, “You pause between every word. It’s like you have to think about each one before you say it.” I closed my eyes, then softly “Precision is important to me. Sometimes the exact right word …takes time to find.” Not buying my tired excuse, “You’re in denial. You talk slow. It’s just that simple” A deep inhale before the words flowed out from me in one long gust, “First of all, I’m rationalizing, not denying. Look it up. If you’re going to play armchair psychologist, at least get it right. And for God’s sake, learn some grammar. It’s slowly. Not slow.” She hated it when I pulled the grammar card. So did I. My words had finally flowed smoothly but hurtfully. I was tired and frustrated, another rationalization. We had been down this path many times before.
I knew it was coming. “You…talk…slow…ly,” smirking. “You should join the Slow….Talkers…of…America…………Society,” pausing an extra second before the last word. Tired of the battle, tired of this particular taunt, I muttered, “I did. I’m even running for president.” I had caught her off guard, the first traces of a smile creasing her lips, head tilting in question, “How’s that going for you?” Suppressing my own grin, “It’ll be a while.” “They’re doing a roll call vote.”
Her smile broadened, warming and dissolving the chill. We hugged, grateful for the closing of the distance between us. A soft kiss on the neck. Then the lips. And another, lingering. Then longer, slower, warmer. Our eyes locked onto one another’s. Rationalization could wait. This was too important….
Copyright © Thomas Ward 2017