the abilene paradox

September 27, 2014 at 4:01 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , )

not long after we started dating chris brought home this training film.  it is outdated and the actors are so stiff it made me laugh.  he was working for the california state highway dept. and this was a tape he had used when he worked in recruiting and training.

the basic story is a group of people, somehow related and some maybe not.  it is a sunday after church. they live in a small town about an hour away from abilene, texas.  texas is huge and during the summer quite hot and windy.  during the time this film is from either air conditioning was not available or only for rich people.  they are drinking iced tea and the fact that the ice is melting and the glass sweating are the focus.  these have to be some of the most boring people even for texas.

someone brings up going to abilene, the big city(?), and having ice cream. i am not sure how far they drive but let’s just say it feels like hours.  they are testy and no one seems happy to be in this heat, traveling in an un-airconditioned car. once in abilene the ice creams is melting and no one seems happy to have made this trip.

at the end, everyone is safely back on the small porch of one player, there ensues an argument regarding the trip to abilene.  you learn that no one wanted to go but thought the other’s did.

the moral of the story is don’t just go along with the crowd. speak up for yourself and you may not be the only one feeling this way.

so as i watched this training film i knew that only love would make me not regret the 30 minutes i would never get back.

that is until today. for several years after seeing this, chris would compare situation after situation to the “abilene paradox.”  of course i would not see the comparison but would nod to avoid an explanation of why it was indeed like this training film.

we have been planning a trip for october for several months. the cool months are the best time for me to travel so in the past we have made our once a year big trip in late fall or winter.  last year our trip to yosemite certainly had it’s challenges and since then i have to say we both know i have declined in health and ability to travel.

some time ago i explained to chris, who has never had more than the flu, that this was much like having the flu all the time.  last night i thought was the time to coax him into firming up whatever travel plans we are going to make.  originally we wanted to go back to california only this time drive along the coast and maybe over to napa valley. all very beautiful and cool places.  we have also talked a bit about more local short trips to see the changing leaves.

my goal is not just for myself but to get him out and enjoying life.  not wanting him to regret not getting out and making memories of his own. needless to say we would have to make adjustments according to my health needs on any given day but i am prepared to push through when need be.

he takes my hand, looks at me and says, if i felt like i had the flu everyday i would not want to go anywhere.  i would want to rest, sleep and lay in bed.  on a good day i would want to sit in the living room with you and drink tea, play with the kitties and maybe watch some good masterpiece mysteries.  isn’t that what you need? isn’t that best for you?

it feels like failure to me.  it feels like with enough love i could do what is best for him. he is right. i don’t feel like traveling for weeks. not even days.  so we are working this thing out. we will play it by ear. we will have small adventures. we will take a day or two if we feel like it, or we will curl up on the couch with the kitties and watch masterpiece mysteries.

this could have been the abilene paradox, the funny thing is he never once made the connection. think i will keep this one to myself.  maybe you have to love someone enough to say no this is not a good idea.  that is the kind  of love i have been blessed with in this part of my journey.  my sister will travel to sweden in may and she will send pics for us to be in awe of and tales of all the people she will meet.  at this point that is enough.

this part of my adventurous journey will be sitting or laying with the man i love, three cats that i am allergic to and visiting with friends who care enough to drop in and spend some time with me. all in all this part of the journey is not as bad as one might think.  no it is not bad at all.  life is good and we are going to make the most of it, right until the end. whenever that may be……


  1. prenin said,

    Interesting! 🙂

    I have nobody in my life, my friends have mostly deserted me and I only have my father nearby who has sworn to kill me on sight, so I am immune to the Abilene paradox! 🙂

    Even so, the need to get out assails me occasionally, so I pick a safe time of day and keep the trips out to the shops or whatever as short as possible!

    I’m really glad you and Chris are there for each other, there are many who are not so lucky! 🙂

    Love and huge squishy hugs to ya both! 🙂


    • s blake callahan said,

      we know how lucky we are to have each other. it hurts me though to hear that someone so loving and caring (you) would not have the same kind of love in your life.of course we both care very much for you but know it is not the same as having someone there to show you the love and support you deserve and that most of us crave.

      right now we are trying to decide whether or not to venture a few days away or just a few hours. either way we will be happy i am sure.

      hope you are having a quiet and peaceful weekend my friend.

      love and hugs to you

      • prenin said,

        Thanks Sandy! 🙂

        I see the psychologist on Wednesday!!! 🙂

        Love and hugs to you both!!! 🙂


  2. Al said,

    I think Chris has the right idea. Alice and I are also at the stage that we do whatever we can at the moment. We both admit there are other things we would rather be doing, but it would be difficult to impossible for her. She also doesn’t want me to be missing out on new experiences, but I can’t get myself to go and leave her behind. It’s not fair to her. So, just like you two, yesterday I put some filets on the grill, she got up, ate a great meal and we watched a couple of reruns of Bones. It was really nice. We also enjoy Masterpiece Mystery and Theatre, great shows. Oh, I also seem to remember the Abillene Paradox from somewhere, way back.

    • s blake callahan said,

      al i continue to be in awe of how much we have in common, in reverse of course. i am so sorry to hear about alice’s decline even though i know that is the inevitable outcome for myself as well. please tell her i send love and hugs to you both and best wishes for your son.

      all we can do is make the best of a difficult situation and remember how blessed we are for each day, each hour and each moment.

  3. jmgoyder said,

    I am so glad you have written, and continue to write, about this very complex situation/dynamic, Sandra. I so admire your honesty and your courage and your incredible generosity. I wish for you that you could just rest, relax and be surrounded by all of the people who you love, and who you love and no more needing to do, go, be there for others, Sandra, please! Love Julie xxx

    • s blake callahan said,

      as you know sometimes writing takes more out of you than other’s would realize. all i can do is write what is true for me. many are following a similar path while making different turns along the way. interesting that you would credit me with the same characteristics that have impressed me and continue to leave me in awe of your writing. it is my honor to be a support to anyone i can and i hope i am given this gift til the end.

      love and hugs to you my friend:)

      • jmgoyder said,

        It is hard to describe how much I admire you, Sandra – we are both suffering in different ways, perhaps we are both heroes. I don’t know. But what you have taught me is like gold – acceptance – I wish I could express the magnitude of my gratitude for his. Love you – Juliex

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