Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I had dinner with Miss K last night, and we wrestled with the ever-absorbing (to us, at least) issue of control. The non-erotic kind, that is. As in: you see someone you care about – an adult person, capable of taking care of themselves - starting down a path that looks to you like it’s going to end up in a trainwreck. What do you do?

Plan A) Shut up. Grown-up people get to make their own mistakes and work out their own destiny. As amazing as it seems, millions of people actually conduct their lives every day without your personal guidance. You may have suspicions, but unless you’ve got a crystal ball, you actually don’t know the future, so don’t harsh their squee by dumping your issues on them.

Plan B) Tell them your concerns ONE time, then resort to Plan A. No fair acting pissy and resentful if they don’t take your implied or stated advice.

Plan C) Do whatever you think you must to prevent the Bad Thing from happening, even if it’s less than strictly ethical or honest, and even over the protests of the person to whom you fear they will happen.

One of the over-arcing themes of my life is learning what things I really have control over and what things I don’t, and how to be peaceful, and even happy, with the latter category. So I am a highly sensitive instrument for this type of situation, having been through it, oh, about forty-seven thousand times myself before I learned how not go there.

Whether you are eventually proved right or wrong has nothing to do with it. The question is how much control you get to have over other people’s lives. The answer: not much. And yes, I say that as someone for whom ritualized demonstrations of control are both a sexual orientation and a profession. How do you think I know so much about it? Why do you think it’s played such a big part in my life? I know the shapes and the boundaries of control very well. The kind of control I get when I do BDSM is like an ice-cream cone – it’s delicious, but you have to consume it on the spot, you can’t put in your pocket and pull it out to eat later. And when it's gone, it's gone.

So if it’s a relatively minor issue, then I go with Plan A. If someone wants to get a haircut, or a lover, or a pet that I think they’d be better off without, well, unless they earnestly and specifically ask me what I think they should do, I don’t say anything.

It’s a bit trickier when worst-case scenario might involve, say, a doctor, or a lawyer. Or a tattoo-removal technician. That is when I will implement Plan B.

But Plan C? Don’t ask me what a bad idea I think that is. Unless you really want my opinion.

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