In a Vanity Fair interview after that W Magazine spread broke along with paparazzi photographs of Brad Pitt with Angelina and Maddox all playing happily, Aniston said her famous quote: "There's a sensitivity chip that is missing in Brad."
She pointed out the difference--his actions aren't hateful. He isn't trying to rub it in her face. It certainly isn't his fault that the paparazzi documents his every move therefore, unlike most women getting divorced who don't need to see their ex's daily life, making these images impossible to escape. It's just that sensitivity chip.
And I think the frustrating thing is when you see that a person can be sensitive. At least, to people and situations other than your own. Maybe they're like Brad Pitt, touring the world to help others in need and rebuilding homes after Katrina and being a great father, but they can't seem to be sensitive to the people close to them--the ones who are part of their daily life such as his wife at the time, Jennifer Aniston. Or they're a therapist by profession, helping AIDS patients, but they can't reach out and be thoughtful to their own family. Or they're raising thousands for cancer research, but completely ignore their friend with cancer who could use some company or a home-cooked meal. It's that sensitivity chip.
And when asked about the photos that appeared in Us Weekly of Pitt, Jolie and her son, Maddox, romping on an African beach, as well as the photo spread in W magazine where Pitt and Jolie played house, Aniston responded, "There's a sensitivity chip missing in Brad."
"It was a huge shock to Jennifer," Bennetts said. "It's not like she didn't know a relationship was developing, but seeing the instant family Brad created with someone else was excruciatingly painful for her."
And it's hard to be upset because we can't be sensitive to everyone and everything at all points. It's impossible to go through life without hurting another person. And there is a huge difference between doing something maliciously and doing something thoughtlessly. But why do we overlook the people closest to us when reaching out to others beyond our circle? How can we emotionally hurt someone like a soon-to-be-ex-wife and not think through those actions, but have the forethought to be able to consider how best to send help in a crisis situation in another part of the world?
I was having dinner a few nights ago with three other friends. Girl A is not pregnant. Girl B is about six months along and showing a lot. Girl C had been pregnant, but immediately told us when we sat down at the restaurant that she had miscarried at 8 weeks. After we had spoken about her loss, Girl A turned to Girl B and said, "but how is your pregnancy going, pregnant lady?" And it felt like someone had thrown all the sensitivity chips into the salsa (or, in this case, the sushi). How could Girl A, a thoughtful woman who raises money for many causes and reaches out to so many people through her charity work, not think through how those words might cause Girl C to feel? It's not that we had to ignore Girl B's pregnancy--at six months, it's hard to ignore--but to not follow the first news with an update about the baby kicking might have been nice. Or to not call Girl B "pregnant lady" when asking for the update would have been thoughtful. Or to allow the person who just had to convey bad news the opportunity to move the conversation forward onto the next topic--whether she chooses to ask about Girl B's pregnancy or to turn the conversation to workplace woes for a moment in order to create the breather between the two conversations.
I had been reluctant to go out to this dinner in the first place. Something had been bothering me before I went to the restaurant. Getting in the car afterwards, I was immediately reminded of this quote by Jennifer Aniston. And the lack of chips. Which may have been obvious since we were out for Japanese and not Tex-Mex. But those internal chips--the ones that allow us sometimes to only see the greater world and not the lens to carefully observe those close to us.