“Do You Know What It’s Like To Be That Person In That Situation?”,

“Do You Know What It’s Like To Be That Person In That Situation?”,

I ask HR as I lean back in the recliner.

“Nope”, HR replies.

“Experiences in life can’t be told; they must be lived”, I reply as I put a handful of palomitas in my mouth. #choices AF

I continue to HR, “did I ever tell you about my friend who lost everything–well all her friends, in an instant?”

“Yeah”, HR replies, “only a million times.”

“Ok”, I reply as I pick up the hot sauce, “well here’s a million and one.

She met someone. Fell in love. Left her husband. This new guy turned her down. She lost all her friends from her brazen actions plus the love of her life didn’t follow through, either. It sounds pretty horrible, huh?”

“Yeah, dad”, HR replies as she turns her head to the TV, “I feel sorry for her.”

“Of course”, I reply as I turn my head to the TV, “naturally, you would feel sorry. But, what you wouldn’t feel is what it was like to be her. You can empathize with another’s situation; you can feel pain at what they went through; but, ultimately, until you are in the same, or similiar situation, you won’t really get it, huh?”

“No”, HR says as she picks up the remote and turns the volume up on the TV, “I can understand what it must have been like.”

“Understanding is not knowing”, I reply as I recline the chair a little more.

Continuing, “you can know a math problem. You can know a capital.  Theses are facts; these are tangible; but, to know a situation–nah, you can understand intellectually. But to know emotionally only comes when you are in that same situation.  You can describe what it feels like to watch the sun rise from the ocean–but, until you know the beauty of the start of the day in the sand as the first rays wash over you–you don’t know it. I can imagine what it’s like for you to be in school–but as a women taking classes on another planet–I don’t know what it’s like, not really. In this way, experiences are transferred clumsily through language, pictures, videos, but without direct experience in that situation, we don’t know; do we really know each other?”

“So why are you telling me this crap, dad?”

“Because the show’s on commercial and I like to hear myself talk”, I reply as I chuckle and pour more hot sauce on the palomitas, “but also because we aren’t very good at knowing how to handle each other, right?”



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