I recently got screamed at for leaving a fingerprint on a microwave. It rendered me speechless. I am always shocked when people react all out of proportion to a situation. I mean, it’s a fingerprint, not toxic waste. It took me less than a second to wipe it off. And that whole time, the world continued to revolve around the sun.

According to, one of the many definitions of proportion is “symmetry, harmony, or balance.” Perhaps that’s why I get so unsettled when things are out of proportion. I thrive on balance. I don’t like unpredictability. I like to be in an environment where the emotional energy is flowing smoothly, without sharp peaks or valleys. Is that so difficult?

Recently I was in the midst of a typical bantering session with someone whom I love dearly. We’ve been friends for 14 years. He’s one of my favorite people in the world. Apparently I said something that touched a nerve. That wasn’t my intent. It was a subject we’d spoken about in the past. It was, to my mind, a mere sentence fragment amongst the millions we have exchanged over the years. But it caused him to remove himself from Facebook and cut off all contact for the past two weeks.

I e-mailed him and apologized for hitting that nerve and expressed surprise that he could think so poorly of me, but have had no further contact. That makes me profoundly sad.

It should be something we could talk about and easily resolve. It should be a mere blip on our emotional radar. Instead, my friend, who is a wonderfully big guy, seems to have painted himself into a very tiny, prideful, childish corner. Proportion? In essence, he’s taken his marbles and gone home. The longer this plays out, the harder it will be to repair this damage, and that breaks my heart.

I always viewed this person as my rock. The stable one. The go-to guy for advice. Now I am having to see him as unpredictable, and it has left me confused and more than a little tearful.

Maybe if I understood, I’d know what to think and how to act. And to complicate the issue, the very person I would have asked for input on this type of situation is the very one who is no longer speaking to me. I’m baffled.

Maybe proportion takes more work than I realized. Maybe symmetry, harmony, and balance aren’t the default positions I always thought they were. This is a very bewildering concept to try to digest at the age of 50. I’m struggling.

[Image credit:]
[Image credit:]

9 thoughts on “Proportion

  1. Carole Lewis

    Be assured Barb, that he is reading this post, and trying to read between the lines. Of course, he should know by now that You lay all your words on the page, there are no between the lines with you. Perhaps at this stage in his life, he cannot proportion control his life. With some it takes longer than others and with some never.

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