One of the long-time-ago three best friends who I occasionally write about here, the woman, and I had an ongoing argument. At times, the argument rose to the level of shouting at each other.
This was the same woman, by the way, I once mentioned in a post in the context of shock and awe. In case you missed that post, our shock and awe was not in the nature of a military sweep by infantry troops or a barrage of bombs and missiles. It was this:
A few times, after a few drinks in a saloon where we were not well known, we would begin making out while sitting on stools at the bar. In a matter of moments, she would be on my lap and our hands would be as frantic as our lips. After a minute or two of this, we would abruptly stop, look around the barroom with startled expressions on our faces, grab our belongings and literally run for the door. There, we would stop, grapple for another moment or two or three, then rush out the door.
The origin of this had been one evening when it was not an act, not a performance, but, actually a spontaneous and genuine "fit of passion." We were both married at the time, and we collected our thoughts and controlled our emotions at some point along the dash between the bar and the car. Perhaps, that is why we remained friends.
In actuality, I was the cooler head, the calmer mind. She also wanted us to "run off" together and to begin another life together. I persuaded her that was not to be our destiny = not to be a road traveled.
Back to the original story. Our argument was this: I maintained that the only person worth competing against was oneself. My point might be illustrated by running. If I could run a mile in six minutes and my competitor could run a mile in five minutes, I should not be concerned about reducing my time in order to beat him, but simply should want to better my own time in the sense of bettering my own self.
My friend spoke passionately that she would be No. 2 to no one in any manner of undertaking without trying anything and everything to win. She was a hard competitor, and did not believe in being second best.
My next point in our debate was that no one can be the best at everything. So what if my competitor could run the mile faster than I could do it? Undoubtedly, there would be other competitive feats and ordinary tasks in which I could come out the winner.
No, she would say, you have to try to beat everyone at everything.
Neither of us would relent in our positions. We never did, but I do miss the arguments -- as well as our barroom improvisations. You see, her insistence at being the best at everything included being the best at kissing.
"Strange Fits of Passion Have I Known"
The first and the original last stanzas
by William Wordsworth
Strange fits of passion have I known:
And I will dare to tell,
But in the lover’s ear alone,
What once to me befell.
I told her this: her laughter light
Is ringing in my ears:
And when I think upon that night
My eyes are dim with tears.