Monday, February 21, 2011

A Little Hole in the Wall, But the Meals Are Fantastic

  When you venture to act on a recommendation from a friend or acquaintance, you are in a significant way, stepping from your own landscape, with all its familiar and undiscovered sites, into the landscape of another person.

In the exchange, you'll have expanded your own parameters and, thus, your own sense of boundaries you and your source populate.  At the same time, you'll be adding specific measurement to your regard for and appreciation of the other person.  There is immediate adventure awaiting you here, one where a musical analogy is appropriate. 

Before you accept or take the recommendation, you are in your own landscape, which corresponds to your home key.  You have perhaps asked Person X for a recommendation or Person X has stepped forward to commend someone or something to you.  In the musical analogy, let's say you were at the simplest key, C, simple because it has no sharps or flats to stir up complications.  

The moment the recommendation is sought or offered, you move from the safety of home to the perfect fifth above C, which is G.  Moving from C to G now requires resolution.  In music, you could resolve the move by hitting or returning to C; where recommendation is concerned, you need to endure the decision whether to take the recommendation or not.  

If you take it, how was it.  Did the recommendation satisfy you?  Was it, as in the case of two long-remembered recommendations of restaurants, an Italian and a Chinese, from an individual at the topmost tier of friendship, a disaster?

Recommendations can and do serve the forces of story, thanks in no small part to their effects on the attitude of the recommender and the recommended.  He thought I'd enjoy that.  She thought it would help.  Both scenarios await the dropping of the other shoe, as in:  How could he have concluded I would enjoy such a thing? and Did she actually believe her recommendation would help or did she have some other motive, such as avoiding any closer contact?

A successful recommendation--one that provides useful information, enjoyable experience, helpful company, the equivalent of a special tool--creates a sense of pleasant indebtedness between the parties. Hey, man, I owe you one.  

Or, you are special.  Let me know if I can ever help you.  A recommendation gone awry can inject suspicion and/or downright resentment into the landscapes where the two parties might abut.

Successful and unsuccessful recommendations can and do lead to "If you hadn't, I'd never have--" sentiments, meaning continuing gratitude or a fast developing enmity.

You recall both your parents recommending particular courses of behavior and action to prevent you from suffering consequences each had in his and her own growing process, said recommendations appearing to you now in retrospect as yet other sincere, tangible demonstrations of their almost limitless love for you.  Lucky you.  Although you did not, at the time, feel so much lucky as impatient.

"It's a different world now,"  you insisted.

"Is that so?"  your father said.

"Not so different,"  your mother said.

Think about it:  when characters spend any time at all together, one has the quintessential Italian restaurant, the only worthwhile Chinese restaurant in the entire Tri-Counties area--you'd have to go to L.A. or San Francisco or New York to find better--and, of course, the confidential disclosure that you will experience grief with any computer but in significant measure you will experience less with a Mac than a PC.

I see you're still driving an American car.  Let me tell you something--

1 comment: