Monday, December 3, 2012

Compromise by Jane Smith


A good compromise is supposed to leave no one happy. The lack of one does the same thing.

I don’t know where I read this but it certainly makes sense. Happy isn’t the goal of a compromise. Action is, moving forward is, taking new ground is… 

The NHL (National Hockey League/ owners) and the NHLPA (National Hockey League Players Association/ union) don’t seem to want compromise, even though they say they do… They want happy… Both sides want happy, and that apparently mean someone wins, someone loses. Right now it looks as if there will be no hockey, even a shortened season, because both sides want what they want. The fans suffer, the owners are losing money this year, and the players aren’t getting paid…nonetheless, no compromise.

Our Congress doesn’t want compromise on the fiscal cliff issue; both sides want happy. And there really is no way for this whole issue to be resolved without a compromise. We can’t do exactly what both sides want, so there has to be give and take…some new taxes and some spending cuts. We may go off that famous cliff, even though it is apparently going to be bad for our economy, some say pushing us into another recession.

Meanwhile the lack of compromise leaves no one happy.

What’s with us? We live in a world of progress, often doing whatever it takes to make things work – yet there is a paradox: win/lose is what makes us happy or sad, mad or glad… but only for a while. It whets our appetite for the next win, then the next. We get giddy at the prospect of a win, pulling one over on the other person. I know sometimes I want to exaggerate what a “good deal” I got on something, something great on sale. And that's for no good reason! Compromise would be a good deal for everyone.

I bought a new car a few weeks ago… a 2012 red Prius that, to the naked uninformed eye, probably looks exactly like my old car. It is different a little on the outside; mostly the difference is on the inside, and it has some things I had before, some I didn’t. I didn’t get navigation, which I didn’t like in the last Prius, and I use my phone for that now, anyway. I couldn’t see paying $2000 more for a car with it… but, because of that, I also didn’t get a back up camera and XM/Sirius radio – and I would have like to have both of those. So I am compromising…no backup camera and a portable XM radio that the Toyota place is paying for and Best Buy installed. I got the radio and then it needed two FM adaptors that I was originally told I didn’t need… I do need them if I want any kind of decent reception. Extra time spent and a solution that is not exactly ideal, though workable…a compromise. Good enough.

Phil’s son Garrick and his family – Suzanne, Lauren, Rebecca and Sarah – went to New York over the holiday, so our usual Thanksgiving plans changed. We generally, for the last 10 years anyway, go to Garrick’s house in Burlington, for a big event, which includes her parents and their “orphan” friends, friends with nowhere to go for Thanksgiving. We didn’t hear about that until the 17th, as we were on the way home from Clearwater – it was a last minute decision for them, and I am sure there was a story involved in it… another compromise, since we didn’t go to Clearwater over Thanksgiving because we wanted to go to Garrick’s! So our compromise…a very leisurely day with just the two of us, a big breakfast and a Boston Market Turkey dinner – I just didn’t want to cook! - that I set up in a big way with candles and our best china. We both loved the day… a good result from the compromise, and one that surprised me by making me happy. 

Thanksgiving has always been a compromise, anyway – Lee and Jennifer spend the day with her family, and, even when Gill and Katie were living here, they sometimes went to Concord to see her family. Christmas is mine… and, again, it entails a compromise. We are going to Clearwater the week before Christmas, and Lee and Jennifer are coming over here Christmas morning; we are going to Garrick’s in the afternoon.

If I had what I want, with no compromise, it would be the entire group, Phil’s family and mine, together in our house… yet this has never happened. And likely never will. We will continue to compromise, move things forward, make things happen. 

I want hockey again, and this year, but I may not get what will make me happy. I want a fully functioning government who looks after my and our best interests, and I can’t see how I will get that. I also want a storybook holiday. I do know the art of compromise, however, and go for it myself. At least that’s a win for me.

1 comment:

  1. I found this very helpful. I guess another way of looking at this is that a settlement might leave the *relationship* "happy" (or at least continuing) which can lead to further action. Maybe:

    1 "I can live with this" + 1 "Maybe I'll do better next time" = 1 Happy (continuing) Relationship.

    Andy Friede

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