I have a friend who is a realist . She is very practical and serious. I have another friend who is an idealist. he loves to watch the clouds sail by and waves roll in and she doesn’t have serious bone in her body. Getting the two of them in one room results in hilarious conversations with the realist angrily defending her position and the idealist looking confused until she turns her head and gets lost in her next daydream. They are my friends and I love them both.
On a recent road trip the realist was busy calculating gas mileage and figuring out if we should schedule the next oil change as soon as we got home. She had printed out the directions to the hotel and was watching the speedometer to gauge our arrival time. The trip would not have succeeded without her. My idealist friend was also busy. She was gazing out the window trying to count all the colors of green in the grass and trying to sketch the tree branches as they stretched out against an impossibly blue sky. I needed her there to help me appreciate the beauty of the highway. Without her it would have been me and that unending ribbon of asphalt before me.
When I took my dog to the vet for an annual visit, I was glad to have my friends both right there beside me. The realist had made a list of all the concerns that we had. The dog was getting older and having troubles climbing stairs. He had many fatty cysts on his body but the one on his right front shoulder seemed to have gotten very large lately. These were things that I was worried about and was glad to have my friends to lean upon. That list was so helpful in talking with the vet and deciding on a plan of action as my dog entered old age. The idealist was captivated by his silky ears and rubbed under his chin. The dog was amazingly calm as he cast trusting glances at her in between fearful flinching at the vet’s touch, gentle as he was. She was remembering summer walks through the park and how we had tried unsuccessfully to teach him how to catch a Frisbee. He was having so much fun running and jumping and I think he felt kind of sorry for us that we were so interested in the piece of flying plastic when there was fresh grass to run through. It was a rough veterinary visit and I needed both of my friends to help me through it.
Today is dark, gray and dreary. It’s raining and as winter draws to a close, the snow banks are crumbling under the onslaught of rain and slightly higher temperatures. Slush, mud and gray everywhere I look. Not only that, but I have a sinus headache starting somewhere over my right eye and a dentist appointment to complete a root canal this afternoon. My realist friend says, “Come on now, we’ll just take some aspirin for that headache and the dentist… well, there’s nothing you can do about that except just get it over with.” She count out the aspirin, pours a cup of water and makes out a check for the dentist. A great combination of caring and practical all at once. Where’s the idealist? She is here too. She is fascinated by the tiny rivulets of water that are swirling around the melting snowpiles in the driveway. She can find the very spot where the first crocuses will peek through in just a few weeks. She thinks a headache is a great excuse to close your eyes and let your mind wander down paths that are warm and sunshiny and where practicality has no place. She is a great comfort to me and helps me to focus on positives while the realist confronts the negatives.
I do not know how I would cope without my friends for I am the realist and I am the idealist and they are me.