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katehaney

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01:39 pm: Update on vacation and on shifting thinking methods
Teddy and I went to the Vineyard for Columbus Day weekend, which is a tradition Peter and I started 10 (!) years ago. Like the first time we went (but not all the years in between), the weather was perfect. PERFECT, I tell you. Sunny, clear, warm but not hot. We went to the beach, mini-golfing, shopping, and to Flying Horses. We went for walks every day. We'd brought books, games, and videos just in case, but read, played, and watched very few (though we did hang out on the porch a bit, which is my very favorite spot in the world). It was fantastic.

Peter didn't want to do the drive, so he stayed home. We missed him, but had a swell time hangin' out with my folks.

Mum & Dad were very helpful (as usual - I lucked out in the parents' department) with something I've been working on lately. It's become increasingly clear to me that not everyone thinks the same way I do. And it's interfering with Stuff (work and relationships), so I need to figure out how to understand how other people think.

Of course, I really think it would be best if everyone switched to my way, but I'm not optimistic about my chances there.

In any case, I tend to be very rooted in reason, rationality, and logic.* And I had an epiphany last week (stick with me for this one, as it takes a minute). I realized that I'm the sexist guy in the Sandra Scoppettone book.

In case you don't read mysteries (or haven't read hers), Scoppettone wrote a series featuring a lesbian detective. In one of them, the protagonist meets a guy who remarks on her wedding ring. When she says she's married to a woman, he asks something about "what do you do?" (meaning in bed). The clear and obvious response is that this guy must be a crappy lover if he doesn't know how to do anything sexual that doesn't involve a penis.

In this scenario, I'm the guy with the penis. I don't understand what people do/how they think when they're not being logical and rational. (I'm not frickin' Spock, of course -- I have plenty of emotional responses myself -- but I tend to move through them quickly... and understanding the reasons for them is extremely important to me.)

So I'm trying to learn. My shrink says that a lot of people think emotionally and that the way to understand them is to lead with emotion. Find out how they feel about things. Let them vent/ wind down/ express their feelings, and they'll get to the rational stuff eventually. And of course I'll understand them better in the process. Score!

The specific example she gave that I found extraordinarily helpful was "have you ever just asked why [someone] is being an asshole?" My response was that I mostly say "you're being an asshole; please stop" and that I thought her way of doing it would be far more effective.

My shrink had asked when my commitment to reason began and I couldn't remember a time when I didn't have it. I remember (no surprise) some books that affected me deeply: To Kill a Mockingbird (justice! non-judgment!), The Once and Future King (there are Right Ways to behave), and books on the Sam Shepherd trial (again with the suspension of judgment, due process, disinterest**). So I thought I'd ask my parents.

They had a very specific example, from when I was maybe 3 (?). Mum had been very careful not to talk about eating things because they were nutritious (which is still the advice in parenting books) but finally blurted in frustration "Eat your vegetables! They're good for you!" to which I replied, astonished, "why didn't you ever tell me?" and ate my vegetables.

So this whole thing started early. I doubt I can change it. But I sure will continue to work on understanding what to do without a penis.


* I am prone to replying to any declarations of "you always" and "you never" with counter-examples, for instance, which effectively disproves the declaration. This has never worked to end an argument. Ever. In the history of the world, apparently. Although it should.
** The real definition, dammit, which is a tetchy subject with me: interested but not biased, not uninterested.

Current Location: Longmeadow
Current Mood: curiouscurious
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