Sekhnet’s one-time friend, a likable quack she came to refer to as a ‘caboose’ because of the drag he exerted on the rest of the train, once did astrological charts for her. He did not live by the stars, but had a lifelong interest in them and a fond belief that they held deep secrets for the mortals rushing about below. He did two charts for her; one for her and one for me, her, then, new love.
Each chart was arranged in a circle, like a clock face, or a pie. Sekhnet’s pie was almost completely eaten on one side, solid pie on the other. My chart was the mirror image, wherever she had pie, my tin was empty, where mine was empty, her’s was full.
“These charts show two complementary souls,” he reported happily, “look at how you complete each other! This is the strongest bond you can have with another person.” She was happy to believe this and I smiled to see her so happy. Our bond is, indeed, very strong.
We are, in some fundamental way, like complementary angles, you dig, or properly aligned magnets, or any number of analogues from the world of science. Adding our strengths and weaknesses together forms one very strong, complete composite person, though that person may be a slightly mad one. I have noticed many things that seem to prove this complementary thesis.
Deadlines, for example, which famously trouble people, in part because of their sweaty similarity to death. Sekhnet and I are on opposite ends of the spectrum on these. Though we both complete absolute necessities by the deadline, our approaches are completely different.
I give myself an arbitrary deadline, say 3:00, which, as I glance at the clock now, I see is rapidly coming up. OK, I have thirty minutes and then I must make those calls I’ve been putting off for two, or three, or six weeks. At 2:55 I realize it will be impossible to make those calls by 3:00 and I will generously extend the deadline to a more comfortable 3:30. I feel merciful having done this, and continue whatever else I was doing until… oh, crap, 3:29.
Would 4:00 work better for you? I ask myself. Oh, yes, I answer, relieved, and then we both smile and: 4:00 it is! In the end I put it on the list for tomorrow, with only the smallest pang of regret. This is not the recipe for ambition, I understand, but it is how I tend to do it– unless there is some pressing external reason I must have the thing ready by a certain date and time.
Sekhnet is exactly the opposite. She is tormented every day to know she will meet only a tiny fraction of the hundred deadlines she sets herself every day. She may accomplish several big tasks in a given day, things that have been bothering her, but that is almost never a reason for self-congratulation or relief. When I try to pat her on the back she is not having it. She is quick to point out that she did not accomplish many more tasks, which must now be added to the long list for the following day. When I try to comfort her she will not take comfort, not from someone who hasn’t made any of those two minute calls he wanted to make two months ago.
Reminds me of other stressful situations where I try to reassure her when she becomes anxious. I’ve taken to adding a semi-humorous caveat to my reassurances, it sometimes works very slightly. “Don’t worry,” I urge her, “… said Nearly Headless Nick….” And I put my arm around her, my head lolling slightly to one side, where the neck has been hacked.
Oh, crap! It’s 2:53. I’m late!