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Disagreement – by Justyna

19 Mar

Recently I had a disagreement with my parents that took me back to the day when I was still living at home and the parents and kid roles were nicely divided (I did a lot of mouthing off and being up myself claiming I knew everything then and my parents telling me to shove it). Anyway, the football match between Portugal and Poland was about to start in the newly built National Stadium in Warsaw (built for UEFA Euro 2012 purposes). Whiskeys in hand, my parents were positioned on their recliner chairs in front of their a wee-bit-too-massive TV. The argument went like this:

I said (whilst crocheting a scarf, having just put two kids to bed): why are you even watching this? Poland will lose. They’re pathetic. They always lose. They’re not even a real team. Look they’re so shit that half the seats in the bleachers are empty. They’re crap. They’ve been crap ever since I got back to this country. You’re just wasting your evening. There will be no surprises. It will be a crap match…yadda yadda yadda yadda, blah blah blah, I know everything, listen to me, do as I say, yadda yadda yadda, blah blah blah…..

Dad: what are you talking about? There are no definites in sport. You know that. Of course there is a chance that they will win.

Me: No there isn’t. They’re crap. They will lose you will see. They don’t even train enough. Plus their coach is rubbish. Just because there are some decent individual players on the field doesn’t mean that they’re a decent team. C’mon it’s the Polish national team for frigg’s sake! They lose to Israel! They’re embarrassing. They’re hopeless. They’re the reason I stopped watching football. Let’s concentrate on other good athletes like Radwanska and Justyna Kowalczyk (world class cross country skier) and yadda yadda yadda yadda, blah blah blah, I know everything, listen to me, do as I say, yadda yadda yadda, blah blah blah…..

Mum: Why are you being so pessimistic? We want to support the team. You never know, they might give it their all, it might be a good match.

Me: What are you talking about mum?? You don’t even know what offside is! Why are you even watching this match?! yadda yadda yadda yadda, blah blah blah, I know everything, listen to me, do as I say, yadda yadda yadda, blah blah blah…..

Dad: God you’re so aggressive. Do you realise when you carry on like that nobody in their right mind actually wants to be listening to you. Can you finally learn how to talk like a normal person, in a calm way, without being such an annoying know-it-all?

Me: Humph. This is such crap (pick up my crochet needle and storm off to the bedroom where I watch downloaded episodes of Parks and Recreation, thinking God he’s right. I don’t even want to be listening to myself. Need to get back to Krakow. Must stop being a sixteen year old).

I was such a shit to live with at times, back in the day. I swear I’ve changed. A bit.

Portugal v Poland (0:0)

Disagreement – by Karen

16 Mar

Oh dear. I am going to Cambodia tomorrow, and need to be at the airport at 6:30am. There really is no room for procrastination here.

If you think my posts are usually a bit on the stream-of-consciousness side, this should be a real treat.

Ok…. disagreements. Did I have any disagreements today? Yes. But pretty darned petty. Oh well that’s what you get when you don’t plan your posts even a little bit.

The first disagreement was with my friend. I was meeting her for coffee and an hour early (because it’s on my way home). I waited for about an hour and a half, then got up to go to my appointment. Then I saw her sitting outside, talking to my other friend. None of them had spotted me inside. I said, “didn’t you think to come inside and see if I was there?”, she said, “yes I did, and you weren’t there.” I said, “yes, I was there.”

HOLD ON, I THINK WE HAVE THE MATERIAL FOR A BLOCKBUSTER KOREAN DRAMA, RIGHT THERE!

The second was when I was reading the children’s bedtime stories, and a mosquito was trying to bite me, and Richard was not trying to kill the mosquito, certainly not with any vim. I said, “Get up!”, but with swearing. Tiny Anika said, “why you angy Mama?” and then hopped about pretending to kill mosquitos for me.

I’ll never do it again.

Disagreement – by Tabitha

16 Mar

For this topic, I was going to write a post about how I’ve mellowed with age, and get less and less joy from the sport of disagreement. When it comes to politics, for example, my youthful self would be horrified at how apathetic I’ve become.

But then I thought, WHO THE HELL AM I KIDDING? One of the biggest laughs during the speeches at our wedding was prompted by Anthony’s line: “Sometimes, in the cloisters, I find reassurance in knowing that somewhere Nathan has a drink, and is scheming, and that Tabitha has a pen, and is indignant.”

Sigh. It’s true. I am Beth’s opposite on this front. I might not be fighting about politics anymore, but I’m still fighting about, well, everything else. Important things. For example, I recently had a public shouting match with Tim Groombridge over how you pronounce “Moet”, and just thinking about it now, I can feel my blood boiling at how RIGHT I am and how WRONG he is. Those who know us both are probably extremely grateful Tim and I don’t live in the same country. “Never back down” is a philosophy we seem to have in common.

I searched my Gmail for the word “disagree” to see if I could find reference to any more of my choicest disagreements, but it only turned up one reference to a particularly fierce dispute I had with another volunteer in Vietnam about pet turtles. I was right about that too, by the way. But, pleasingly, my search also brought up a Vanity Fair article about the company Groupon that Karen sent me a while back. It contains a little vignette about not backing down that I absolutely love:

Groupon takes its humor rules seriously. Take the example of a Groupon write-up that mentioned that hummingbirds come from cocoons. A reader wrote to Groupon customer service to point out that hummingbirds don’t actually come from cocoons. A Groupon rep wrote back: “Thanks for your email and I’m sorry for any confusion. Hummingbirds do come from cocoons.” The frustrated reader reached out to Ross Hawkins, executive director of the Hummingbird Society, who wrote an e-mail to the reader and to Groupon saying, “Hummingbirds are birds, not insects. They come from eggs.”

The Groupon rep in turn produced a Photoshopped National Geographic cover showing a hummingbird emerging from a cocoon. The e-mails continued escalating until Hawkins bowed out in frustration. Groupon’s final message to the customer was this: “We appreciate your feedback, but we will have to agree to disagree.”

Groupon still has the hummingbird misinformation on its Web site. “We’ll keep going forever,” said Griffith.

That guy is my hero.

Disagreement by Beth

14 Mar

I am so bad at conflict that I had no idea what to write for this week. I usually avoid disagreements at any cost, so I even find writing about them uncomfortable. I snapped at my neighbour the other day when she made a comment about children that I disagreed with, and I’ve been feeling a bit bad about it every since. That’s how bad I am at conflict — a snappy “I disagree” counts as a “disagreement”. I’m an amateur!

Am trying to get better with conflict, but was parented by two of the best conflict avoiders and married another one, so it’s a veeeery slow process. Leo is not afraid of conflict, so there’s hope.