Posted by: Kate | December 18, 2009

Drama, Drama Everywhere

This week, I’ve had the pleasure of spending my time in the eyes of several simultaneous hurricanes, feeling the pressure of sudden atmospheric shifts without actually breaking any window panes… a veritable herd of drama llamas has galloped by, ruffling my hair in their passing breeze without trampling me… the roller coaster of life has inflicted motion sickness on several friends and loved ones, while allowing me to sit on a bench and knit and watch from the sidelines.

It’s been… kind of fun, really.

I won’t go into detail here… partly because any one of the stories would be worth a thousand words all by itself, and I can think of at least four separate tales at the moment.  Partly because some of them are meant to be kept private, and even if I were to alter the names and details to protect the involved, I would feel uncomfortable posting it here.  Partly because I’m tired and lazy.  Partly because they each keep evolving so quickly that, by the time I have committed it to words, it would be a whole new story anyway.

But there has been love and marriage… sibling rivalry… academic progress… parenting dilemmas… financial woes… police involvement… domestic disputes… if it had all happened in one household, it would rival any Jerry Springer episode, but it is spread out over several addresses.  Just as well, I wouldn’t wish even two of these sagas, simultaneously, upon anyone.  Except maybe the downstairs neighbors, but that’s just the principle of the thing.

Willem has complained, a number of times in the past few months, that he’s not home enough, that he doesn’t feel involved in what’s going on, that he doesn’t even know what’s going on half the time.  So I’ve done my best to keep him apprised, both of the mundane, daily stuff within our family and of the newsflashes happening around us.  He hit some sort of internal limit last night, and told me that if I were to just stop talking to so many people about these various events in their lives, I would stop hearing about it all… that I was bringing it upon myself, seeking out the drama, when I could avoid it.  Willem is a friendly guy and can be quite sociable, but he’s also more reserved than I am, less prone to getting wrapped up in relationships outside the home.

And he’s right, of course.  We are very, very fortunate in that none of these things are having a direct impact on our existence, here, and so I could choose to let the phone go to voice mail, stop reading my email, and generally plunk my head into the sand and ignore it all for a while.  Maybe even forever.

But what he doesn’t understand, I think, is that I don’t want to avoid it.  I have a number of close personal relationships, and keeping those alive and vital sometimes means hearing lots of details about other people’s drama, not to mention forming and sharing my own opinions about it all.  It requires a fairly high level of mental and emotional engagement on my part – a lot of psychic energy – not to mention a certain amount of diplomacy and communication skills, if the circumstances stretch across more than one party.  Life might be easier if I kept more of that energy to myself… but then it wouldn’t be quite my life anymore.  I like being engaged in these complicated, messy relationships… I like that people bring their troubles to me and trust me to listen to them and try to help, if I can… I like knowing what’s going on, even if there’s nothing I can do about it all.

This is me.  I get involved with people, sometimes very intensely, because it feels good to have that bond.  I give them my undivided attention, because sometimes that’s all I have to offer… and sometimes that’s enough.  I share my opinions, when I think they might be helpful or at least not harmful.  I talk a lot – just look at the average length of posts, here, and you can safely extrapolate that to me offline.

So, yes, absolutely, I could steer clear of the drama… but I hope I never do.


  1. I, for one, am happy to have you to bounce ideas off of! Speaking of, we’re long overdue for a chat!! Miss you!

  2. I love it. Now that I’m not working in such a high-drama place, I have far more tolerance for it in my personal life- as a spectator, of course. A. doesn’t get it either- maybe it’s a male/female divide. At any rate, I’m glad you’re there to talk with and to reflect.

  3. I tend to be the same way in my life, I am so glad to have a friend like you to turn to when mine goes upside down ❤

  4. Some people don’t like any kind of drama, it stresses them out. Mr. Batty is one of them — he sees drama happen or hears about it, and it makes him uncomfortable or stressed. Me… I do enjoy the occasional bit of drama. Maybe it’s some kind of voyeuristic fascination with the lives of others. Maybe it’s just because I like a good story. We all like good stories — that’s why movies and novels sell. But for me, as long as it’s other people’s drama, it’s just an interesting story and I want to know the ending. For Mr. Batty… I don’t think he can get to the level of abstraction where it’s just a story, not people in trouble.

    You’re definitely not alone with the drama-enjoying tendencies!

  5. Sometimes it’s nice to hear that others aren’t so normal. Then sometimes it’s a substitution, white-noise if you will. Nicest is to hear that others aren’t burdened listening to friends.

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