Over the past years I have found that sharing parts of my life with another person is not just based on love, friendship and respect, but also on the hard work of being able to compromise and entering into a dialogue with them. I also discovered that commitment is the key to having a successful relationship, no matter what the kind.
“Hello to you,” I cheer at Bakerman over Skype that evening. “How are your baking sales?”
“Hi. How are you?” Bakerman peers eagerly through the webcam. “How is business going? Mine has stalled again.”
“It’s looking quite good my end,” I tell him enthiusiastically. “The insurance company is some extra business, though not as much as anticipated. Then again this allows me to just give consulting without sweating over deadlines. A few peanuts are pulling back. Another peanut is very pleased and expanding. Still following that one nice hot lead. Hope to finalize the contract and start working mid-april. I’m working on those video ads. Want it to work and get more commitment there. All in all things are looking up and moving forward slowly. Still talking with Google but that would only be interesting if they take me on as a consultant. Why is your baking stalling? Do you know?”
“Sounds good,” Bakerman nods vigorously. “Yes I know why. Expectations of my partner are very different to the rest of the world. Don’t know if it’s lack of money or lack of knowledge. So now I try testing a cheap product. We also have a difference of opinion as to what market we should approach.”
“You should really test everything,” I advise him from experience. “Everyone has an opinion and you won’t know until you try out different solutions, I think. I know you’re very knowledgeable but you are on her turf. Maybe she knows the culture better than you do. Maybe she doesn’t know business like you do.”
“What I don’t understand is we get such good feedback,” Bakerman trails off.
“Well that’s great,” I tell him. And it’s true. Word of mouth is your best marketing strategy.
“Yes something like that yet the food culture is the same,” Bakerman says and I can see he has his thinking cap on tightly over his ears.
“Why do you want to understand it?” I question him further on the matter. “It means your customers are happy. You’re good at what you do. Yes but it’s also about the service and the atmosphere.”
“Sorry I didn’t finish,” Bakerman interrupts me. “With such good feedback he should be motivated to get product into the market before someone else does. I don’t have enough money now to go it alone.”
“He?” I suddenly pick up on an inconsistency.
“He is stalling,” Bakerman repeats. “The market is asking for the product. Don’t understand why he is stalling.”
“Who is he? Where is Debbie?” I look around me bewildered half expecting the world to fall apart around me as we speak. “What product? What about the sarnies?”
“My partner,” Bakerman pulls big eyes at me now. “Are you mad? What does Debbie have to do with my business? Yes sarmies what else? Are you confusing me with someone else?”
“I thought she made the sarnies with you and puts them on her nice pottery plates,” I stutter and feel my cheeks turn red. “No I hope you are Walter Mitty the Bakerman.”
“Don’t think. Ask.” Bakerman retorts.
“So you are shipping sarnies abroad,” I try to go on with the conversation pretending I’m not a bit shaken by the misunderstanding. “Won’t they go bad?”
“She is a professor at university. Pottery is her hobby,” Bakerman glares at me through the webcam. “Quick go take your back to earth pill.”
“Oh no not that!” I squeal and play along with him in amusement. “I love having my head in the clouds.”
“Yes indeed silly girl,” Bakerman scrutinizes me through pinched eyes. “What happened? Did you smoke something strange?”
“No no more smoking at all. Yuk!” I spit with curled nose. “Back to normal, thank god. No more cougar silliness either.”
“Actually I understand,” Bakerman points a finger at me through the computer screen and I find the gesture offensive. “You are not really interested so you keep a very superficial memory about what I am trying to do. No more naughtiness?”
“I want those videos to be a success,” I defend my position. “Am writing a blog post to promote them as well.”
“No more cuckolding Wim just to see how far you can push him?” Bakerman is making sure I understand the small letters of my personal commitments.
“Nooo not true!” And I take on a defensive stance. “I am interested in your sarnies and your tutoring at university. I love your stories when you’re generous enough to share. No no more hurting people and sabotaging myself. No more naughty stories for my old mother.”
“God girl are you growing up at last,” Bakerman beams at me fondly.
“I m 42,” I wink at him. “The age of the answer to everything.”
“Indeed,” Bakerman smiles back, happy to hear I read the book he had recommended.
“Time to make dreams come true,” I dream airily.
“Now you too can be eccentric,” Bakerman brings up an old dusty subject. In order to heal, you must first behave traditional. Get the foundations right. Once all is in place, you can colour outside of the lines. Or something along those lines.
“Yes and sell videos online,” I smile triumphantly.
“Well Fi. My bedtime as I must rise at 5 am,” Bakerman informs me. “You have a great day tomorrow and go knock ‘em dead.”
“Homeworking,” I smile and blow him a kiss. “Have fun.”
“Thanks,” Bakerman waves into the camera blowing kisses as well. “C U.”
Friendships are in some way a spiritual journey that you undertake with another person. Being able to open your heart to someone, you will find that you can reach a greater level of transformation, evolving together on your path and learning powerful lessons about yourself and each other that you might not have been able to all by your lonesome.