My first car was a wreck. A real wreck. The make was Dacia and the model was Nova. The color was metal blue and the engine was a 1.4 liter gasoline. The doors weren’t closing right and rear window exploded one very cold winter while I was waiting at a red light. Don’t ask why, it just exploded. The inside was extremely hot in the summer and freezing cold in the winter.
Half of the parts were malfunctioning one way or another. For instance, a heat sensor who was supposed to start the engine cooling system decided to have a life of its own. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t. During the summer, if I was using the car more than 2-3 hours a day, at some point thick layers of white steam were starting to emerge from under the hood. Had to pull over and wait until the engine cooled down.
Yes, it was a real wreck. I remember that one day, during a very hot summer, I had a meeting down town. I found a parking spot, locked the car (a useless precaution, more like a habit) and then went to my meeting. I don’t remember well what was I supposed to do at that meeting or if it went well at all, but I remember that I stayed around an hour.
It was noon already and the heat was reaching the “unbearable” point. Once I got to my car, I inserted the key into the door lock and started to spin. Unfortunately, the lock was stuck. Alas, it wasn’t the first time. Like I told you, half of the parts were malfunctioning and my door lock was on that half. I remember there was a subtle sequence of pushing and spinning that I have to do with my key in order to trick the lock.
I think I stayed like 30 minutes using my wrist in the most incredible positions, trying to make that lock open. No chance. I went to the other door, but didn’t get luckier. It was getting hotter and hotter. Drops of sweat were already flowing down from my eyebrows. My shirt was wet and my feet were burning. And that stupid door had no intention to open.
At that point, I did what every frustrated man would have done: decided to punch the car as hard as I can. I clearly remembered that I lifted my right arm, chose the exact spot where my fist was about to land, then lowered it with great speed, waiting for my fist to reach that very familiar scratch on the hood. Yes, I even had a very familiar scratch on my hood.
But then something happened. I remember just as clear that my fist stopped millimeters above the hood, because, well, that familiar scratch, the point where all my fury had to explode in a giant hit, that scratch was gone. No scratch at all. Gone. Puzzled, I stepped down. At first, I thought that heat was playing a trick on me. But no, it was a Dacia. Even more, a Dacia Nova. Metal blue. Same tires. Same steering wheel. But the scratch wasn’t there anymore.
Then, for the first time during that half an hour, my head moved two degrees to the right. Until that moment, all my visual field was locked on the target in front of me: my car. But now it moved to the right a little. Something new and at the same time familiar appeared in my visual field. Another Dacia. 20 centimeters next to the one I wanted to unlock so far. Even more, a Dacia Nova. Metal blue. Same tires. Same steering wheel. Only the hood had that familiar scratch too.
I looked around really fast. Nobody seemed to have noticed anything. I went to that second car, unlocked the door with only one move and left in a split of a second. Yes, I was trying to unlock a different, but somehow familiar car. For the last half an hour, I was focusing on unlocking the wrong door.
Who Are You Talking To?
Yes, you can stop laughing now. Seriously. Are we cool now? Ok, thanks. 🙂
The reason I wrote this story is because every time I am coming around a new significant relationship, it kinda pops up into my head. Again and again. That half an hour spent trying to unlock the wrong door seems to be my “relationship red alert”. How come?
Well, because it reminds me about the difference between who I think I’m dealing with and who I’m really dealing with.
In my car situation, I was imagining all the time that I was dealing with something familiar. I went to that car without the blink of an eye. It looked exactly as the one I was expecting to get. Only it wasn’t.
In a similar way, we build an internal image of somebody who is supposed to be our “chosen one” and when we see that image, we’re rushing towards it without the blink of an eye. Only the person behind that image may have nothing in common with our expectations. And, to be honest, it seldom has something in common with our expectations. It’s just an image we built inside and, based on a strange coincidence, it just appeared in our visual field.
I know that because I’ve been there many times. Stumbled upon a familiar image, somebody that was really, really close to my internal ideal of a significant relationship and, based only on this, I imagined that I know whom am I talking to. Only I wasn’t really talking to somebody. It wasn’t a real discussion going on. All I was doing was trying to unstuck the door lock and get into that person heart.
Most of the time spent in these relationships was just an endless effort on the outside. Somehow, I even got used to this game and said to myself all kind of “encouraging” stuff like “if it takes so much time unlocking this door, it must be really valuable”. Only it wasn’t valuable at all, of course. None of these relationships was even started. All I was doing was staying in the heat, endlessly trying to unlock a door which wasn’t supposed to open for me.
In my experience, a relationship works only when the door unlocks from the first time and you’re getting everything about the other person, without any noise, secrets, decoys, detours or embellishing lies. Ok, you may have to do a few tricks, a little pushing and a little spinning, but the door to the other person heart must open.
That’s the starting point. Without opening the door, you can’t even leave in a journey together. You’re stuck on the parking lot. And what’s even more interesting is that even after you opened the other person’s heart, nobody guarantees that the journey will be peaceful and all happy and pink. It may leave off some thick layers of white steam every once in a while. Parts of it may explode during the winters and sometimes it will feel too cold or too hot. But at least you will have a journey together.
Yes, my first car was a wreck. A real wreck. But it was my car and I loved it. With good stuff and bad stuff. 🙂