Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Perfect Peach

The quest for the perfect peach begins with great expectations and is destined for an experience totally unlike those expectations. We look in the market at the beautiful selections available and think of past perfect peaches void of all imperfections and the sweetest fruit ever tasted with pretty skin, and great texture that separates perfectly from the seed. As we bite into the perfect peach, we think how sweet, how juicy, how healthy it is. We think of the countries that throw out tons of imperfect fruit or those countries that shrink wrap in plastic the perfect fruit to sell as gifts. How about those companies that sell fruit mail order and guarantee perfect fruit! We get to look over the selection at the market and pick our own perfect peach from hundreds of perfect peaches.

We select the prettiest peach we can find with no visible imperfections, and watch as the grocery bagger throws it into a shape-shifting plastic bag while complaining about extra hours to a colleague. We think, my perfect peach is fragile, have you no reverence for fruit? What if it gets bruised? We rush it home to the refrigerator and hope for the best. Two days later, we figure if it wasn’t ripe, surely it is ripe by now. We figure if the bagger bruised it, that too, will be apparent. So we look at the perfect peach and cut into it. The knife finds a very firm peach, that will not separate from the firmly-held seed. So it is necessary to cut it away from the seed. The flesh of the perfect peach looks great, and is very firm, so we bite into it to find it neither ripe nor sweet. Not even a reckless bagger could convince any part of that peach to turn to sugar. Another perfect peach that disappointed. It looked great, but didn’t meet our expectations. Because we bought it, we hope the price was worth the disappointments. It isn’t spoiled, we eat the whole thing and hope that the benefits outweigh our disappointment in not finding a perfect peach.

The quest for the perfect friend can be a little like searching for the perfect peach. We meet someone and think what a great person, looks good, sounds great and we seem to click. As the friendship progresses, we start to see the issues about which we disagree, and the annoying little habits that with time start to drive us crazy. We start to wonder if the time invested in the friendship is worth the effort. On the other hand, I have never found the perfect peach or the perfect friend. There will be imperfections. No one is our clone. No one will agree with all of our opinions or preferences. We take what we can get out of the experience and try not to set our expectations impossibly high. We pay the price of overlooking their opposing viewpoints, annoying habits and look for common ground. We can’t throw out imperfect peaches and we
can’t throw out imperfect friends. Look in the mirror.

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