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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Getting To Know You

By Oscar Hammerstein:

Getting To Know You

[ANNA]

[Spoken] It's a very ancient saying,
But a true and honest thought,
That if you become a teacher,
By your pupils you'll be taught.

[Singing] As a teacher I've been learning --
You'll forgive me if I boast --
And I've now become an expert,
On the subject I like most.

[Spoken] Getting to know you.

[Singing] Getting to know you,
Getting to know all about you.
Getting to like you,
Getting to hope you like me.

Getting to know you,
Putting it my way,
But nicely,
You are precisely,
My cup of tea.

[ANNA AND THE MOTHERS]

Getting to know you,
Getting to know all about you.
Getting to like you,
Getting to hope you like me.

Getting to know you,
Putting it my way,
But nicely,
You are precisely,

[ANNA]

My cup of tea.

[ALL]

Getting to know you,
Getting to feel free and easy
When I am with you,
Getting to know what to say

Haven't you noticed
Suddenly I'm bright and breezy?
Because of all the beautiful and new
Things I'm learning about you
Day by day.

Getting to know you,
Getting to feel free and easy
When I am with you,
Getting to know what to say

Haven't you noticed
Suddenly I'm bright and breezy?
Because of all the beautiful and new
Things I'm learning about you
Day...by...day.


Warning to the Reader: If you are of a certain age and you’ve viewed the film “The King and I” more than just a few times…and, if you read the lyrics above more than twice…you’ll undoubtedly fall prey to the same earworm that has been lodged in my head for more than two weeks now. Trust me on this.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming...

* * *

Sweet song, isn’t it? Such a lovely sentiment: the joy of getting to know someone.

I once believed I was pretty adept at understanding people. It’s in my nature, so to speak. If you are familiar with Meyers-Briggs parlance, you’ll note that I am a classic INFP…an introverted-intuitive-feeling-perceiver. My intuitive nature held me in very good stead throughout my professional career.

But everything is different now.

I’ve come to realize that I do not know anyone other than my own self (and, sometimes, I’m not all that sure about my self, either). This realization disturbs me greatly.

There was a time when I felt I really knew my friends. We grew up together, influenced each other, shaped each other’s personalities. We spent practically every free moment together. We rarely surprised each other with “out-of-character” behavior. Those days disappeared decades ago. We went our separate ways to lead our separate lives. The friendships have endured the distance and the passage of time but, truth be told, we know so little about each other’s lives nowadays. Time and circumstance have changed us all dramatically, but we are no longer witnesses to all of that. What remains is an eternal love, shrouded in mystery.

I’ve written that I never knew my own mother. She looked at life with Old World eyes. Parents were parents. Children were children. Neither was meant to be a friend or confidant to the other. I never came to know the person wearing the apron.

My father was a different sort. We came to know each other to a degree. I had to become a man, first, before we could engage in a mutual exploration of our respective hearts and souls. But he passed away too soon, leaving so many questions unanswered.

Both parents are gone now. This orphan never really knew them
...and never will.

Then there were my loves. Sigh.

As the events of the past two years have made so obviously, abundantly and painfully clear, I never really knew them either. I thought I did. How can one live with a woman for two decades and not know her? Seems absurd. Yet, it’s true. I neither know nor understand my soon-to-be-ex-wife. Amazing woman, too, is more a fading question mark, more a figment of my imagination than a living, breathing human being. This man never came to know either woman …and never will.

I find all this deeply disturbing. To wake on the 20,225th morning and realize that you do not truly know anyone is…well…disconcerting, at best. I feel as if I’m some ancient navigator who looks to the heavens to chart his course, only to find all the stars have drowned in the sea.

It’s fair to say I’m hopelessly lost. The way forward seems so very precarious.

Do we all not need at least a few verities in our lives?

6 Comments:

Blogger bct said...

But, as the wise Ed says, "One inch ahead, all is darkness." The way ahead is precarious only if looking too far ahead.
Perhaps other people can never be completely known, only appreciated.

Thu Nov 09, 09:41:00 AM  
Blogger Jonas said...

"Perhaps other people can never be completely known, only appreciated."

I find your thought consoling, Bernice. It certainly applies to my friends.

Still. Still. I hunger to be known and, in turn, to truly know someone...regardless of the flaws...even if the truths are painful.

I hunger for authentic relationships, an authentic life. Although words fail me, it has become important to me, at this stage in my life, to achieve that...somehow.

Thu Nov 09, 10:08:00 AM  
Blogger bct said...

Aarrrrr, now I've had that song in my head ALL DAY. But at least it was the James Taylor bemused-and-relaxed version.

Thu Nov 09, 03:54:00 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

I'm smiling. I did post a warning, though. I bet you read the lyrics more than twice...

As far as earworms go, I find this one far more benign than others that have crawled into my skull in times past.

Thu Nov 09, 04:51:00 PM  
Blogger Gillette said...

With such a strong yearning, I feel it must be that you will find what you seek, Mr. Jonas.

I keep hearing a Voice saying

"Remember: that which you seek is also seeking you."

Thu Mar 22, 11:10:00 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

It is an incredibly consoling thought to think that all that I am seeking is also seeking me. I can't know if that is true unless/until it happens...but it is truly a beautiful thought. Thank you.

Fri Mar 23, 12:46:00 AM  

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