2002.12.5 – a bit territorial, aren’t we?

Have you ever felt territorial? This past weekend gave me new insight into territorialism in modern day relationships. A trip to Toronto would be the backdrop for a very educational trek down memory lane.

First of all you must know that Canada is almost like a second home to most of us here in Western New York. Border dwellers tend to take the fact that they live on the edge of another country, for granted. The people that I have grown up with at school, at work, and in my family have grown accustomed to being near another country. We don’t even look at it as foreign anymore. A good quarter of my life has been spent on the other side of the bridge. Hell, at nineteen we all went there in order to drink, as the drinking age was 2 years younger than in New York.

Having said all this, one of the members of our party was a true tourist by virtue of the fact that he had never been outside of the country before. Being from Fresno, California didn’t afford him many chances to go to Canada. Finding out this fact, the tour guide in me kicked up to full force and I was more than prepared to show him Toronto. I made the mistake, however, of deciding to go to the more obscure locations, rather than the touristy places and I think I may have lost his interest along the way. He had his girlfriend with him though (who happens to be one of my best friends), which made things better, but also brings in the territorial issue.

Let me sidetrack you here for a moment and give you a little history on territorialism. In my college days I tended to be extremely territorial of not only places that were what I considered to be mine, but also people. I shared this same feeling with my best friend at the time and whenever someone would try to break through we would be on guard. Basically, what this involved was when one of the out of town students would begin to learn the city enough to start giving driving directions or restaurant recommendations we would be irked. If at all possible, we would attempt to one up the out of towner with more intricate details. This was obviously a very childish phase and thankfully I’ve mostly outgrown it. I say mostly because every once in a while I have the feeling again. The difference is that I no longer act on it. I no longer go out of my way to make other people look like fools. I simply agree with whatever the newbie says and I don’t correct them. The best part of this strategy is that eventually they will make a fool of themselves by giving bad directions or the like.

Sidetrack completed. Moving on to Toronto.

The weather as we left Buffalo was cold, but sunny. Stuffing five people into a small four-door sedan, we finally hit the road at 1pm. Normally we would leave early in the morning, but certain problems arose, per usual, and we were unable to get out of town until this late time. One and a half hours later we arrived in Metro Toronto and a feeling of relief swept through the small vehicle. Walking around a metropolitan area in freezing temperatures is probably not the greatest idea, but we certainly made the best of it.

Our last stop before heading home that evening was a bar on Peter Street (“Fez Batik”) where the territorialism began to rear its ugly head. The bar was somewhat busy, which meant that all five of us were unable to sit together at a table. We decided to break into two groups and then rotate accordingly. A marked lull in the conversation began and so I decided to discuss a few items with my best friend. I have a nasty habit of being nostalgic at the most inopportune moments, and this was definitely one. We talked about my impending wedding and any plans that were to be taken care of. We talked about our mutual friends who are in other states now. We talked and talked and talked. Finally I realized that perhaps our talking was a bore to the newbie in our group and so I tried to get him involved in the conversation.

Tact and group activities are not a good mix for me. I suppose that I should probably get to know a person better before I begin talking about issues that are outside of the norm, but I can’t help myself. Eventually we moved to an area where all five of us were able to sit together, only now I was literally the “middle woman”. Two on one couch, two on the other, and me in the middle on a hard bench. I tried to bring the two groups together, but it was useless.

Giving up is a good thing sometimes and in this case it was the best choice. We finished up the drinks that we had and headed for home. Surprisingly, everyone stayed awake in the car so that I wasn’t made to be a lone driver. It is difficult to bring a new person into the fold when you have four people who have known each other for so long. The territories were mapped out and we didn’t break through this time either. Not for lack of trying, but perhaps for lack of consenting.

Until next time…

Shalom –

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