August 30, 2012

Dissonance & Relationships

Before living with someone, there are the universal basics to know. Are they messy? Do they have people over often? What is their sleep schedule like? All good questions. Something you may forget to ask, however, is your television taste.

It is probably exasperated by 1) the fact that I haven't had a TV to "myself" in two years, and 2) I am mildly obsessed with TV. Courtney - who is hysterical, brash, usually offensive, dependable, and constantly outspoken - and I have very different ideas of what is good television/film (this also extends to music but I'm not even gonna try to go there). 

To name a few of our current disagreements... 
-Family Guy
-Harry Potter 
-Big Bang Theory
-How I Met Your Mother
-Man vs. Food
-Ocean's Eleven
-Van Helsing

Even more baffling, however, is what we do agree on...
-The Soup
-Pride & Prejudice
-Mamma Mia (we both agree the movie was a disgrace)
-Finding Neverland

Don't get me wrong. I love living with Courtney. I also don't think I've yelled at a single person more than her. We are always disagree about superficial things like the channel or food tastes (similar to television, lots of agreements and disagreements). But we have some of the most awesome, intelligent, deep, boundary-less conversations. Who we think should be elected, who we think will be elected, the legitimacy of the space exploration program, the co-existence of God and science, the reasons she wants to serve our country as a United States Marine. 

In light of all the talk of diversity and tolerance that emanates from Cornell, I think relationships like ours are infinitely more powerful than any talk or policy about how to treat people. Courtney and I yell at each other when a show is coming on, but we respect each other greatly, trust each other deeply, are not offended by the other's thoughts, and learn from each other. Our relationship is far from an isolated case (it just sticks out because of the extremeness of our agreements and disagreements), and I find an incomparable value in our interactions. And, try as you might, that can't be forced by some policy or "cultural awareness" requirements. It comes from a much deeper place of mutual respect and desire to learn, without compromising yourself to be tolerant to the point of being a doormat. 

I'm so grateful for the people I know. I might graduate in May of 2014 not remembering all the steps for the iterative design process, how to get a matrix into reduced row echelon form, or how to code PHP, but I will remember the effect that my interactions have had on my world view. And I cannot imagine anything more important.