Here at Pro Rhetoric, LLC we have a weekly staff meeting, which we don't exactly look forward to.
That's because we go down a list and discuss the status of every one of about 41 unresolved issues, ongoing projects, onrushing deadlines, good-ideas-at-the-time and unkept promises to ourselves—one by one, for as long as it takes to get through the the goddamn list and decide what the hell we're gonna do about it. The list never seems to get shorter, only slowly longer. But the weekly meeting keeps us from letting things fall through the cracks. Attention must be paid. It's the only responsible way to do business.
It seems to me we if we're going to take the same responsibility for our personal lives that we do with our work, we ought to have a staff meeting in all our important relationships every week, to make sure you're addressing all the issues that need to be addressed—and all the things that you never want to discuss on a Friday night. Or a Saturday morning. Or a Saturday night. Or a Sunday morning. Or a Sunday night. Or a Monday morning.
I suggest we rename one day of the week—I vote for Tuesday, because Tuesday is just a horseshit day anyway—Communicationday.
On Communicationday, everyone important in your life—say, your spouse, your kids, your unemployable uncle who lives in the basement and anyone else close enough that you sometimes want to kill each other—everyone would have a 30-60-minute "office hours" slot on your calendar to bring up whatever issues had arisen over the week. Some weeks, you would dread Communicationday, cuz you know goddamn well what's coming. Other weeks, you'd look forward to finally getting a thing off your chest—a thing you'd had a week to rehearse so you get it just right. ("Your trouble is, you are a cathedral of hypocrisy!") And every once in a while, of course, Communicationday would pass without any need for heavy communication.
"If you could not drop your wet towel on the bedroom floor that would be great. That's all I got."
"DONE! Now how 'bout a drink!"
And of course eventually some cornball would use Communicationday to tell someone that despite all appearances to the contrary, you mean everything to me and you always will.
Of course human communication would not be limited to Communicationday, and if someone in your life really had something to get off his or her chest on a Thursday, you could not politely say, "Save it for Communicationday."
But if someone complained that you didn't pick up on their hints of unhappiness, maybe you could reasonably point out: "You know, it's not called Mindreadingday."
As much of a grind as our staff meeting is at Pro Rhetoric, we always entertain each other with jokes in between, and sometimes we have really constructive and creative conversations. And in the end of the hour (or 90 minutes) we feel reconnected just for having heard one another's voices. We don't like it, but we know it is good for us, and when it's over we understand what we're up against and what we have to do—and thus we feel freed from generalized anxiety. We respect the all-around utility of the day enough that we very rarely skip a week.
Nothing's perfect of course, and Communicationday wouldn't bring on world peace. It would probably even have some downsides. Like, your local police force would probably have to staff up on Communicationday (and on what day do they communicate?). Marriage counselors would work double shifts on Communicationday—and be then bored the rest of the week, because who in the HELL would go to a marriage counselor on a non-Communicationday?
But think of the upside, if we all took this seriously: By midnight on Communicationday, the whole world would feel cleansed. Everyone would feel a little better understood by the ones they love. Everything that everyone dared to put out in the open be out in the open—and everything they didn't would be intentionally and thus more carefully hidden. Everyone would feel compelled to say the thing they want to say—or wait seven more days to say it, only to be asked, "Surely you felt this way last Communicationday. Why didn't you tell me?"
You might as well say it today. Tuesday. Communicationday.
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