It snowed in Vienna last night, a fair amount. When my dog and I went out for our walk not all the paths had been cleared yet and there was a weird game going on–who will step off the one-person trampled path to make way for the person coming in the opposite direction? I used to be the person who always stepped aside. Then I went through a phase when I got sick and tired of that and only stepped aside for people who were noticeably less able-bodied than I was.
This morning I approached each interaction with curiosity, trying to read the signs and judge the dynamic between us, neither committed to stepping aside nor to making the other person step aside. It’s part of my job actually, to read such signals, but I don’t often practice when there is no pressure. Sometimes the stakes are pretty high, so it was fun this morning.
Something interesting came out of it, too. It seemed that in this case both of us moved a little. Neither of us made the other do all of the accommodating.
A lesson for life? Engage with the other person with curiosity and the encounter will be more reciprocal? Worth trying, it seems to me.