Tuesday, August 21, 2012


To my son Tommy,

Everyone has their own process, their own way of doing things even when the desired outcome is the same.  Some people when faced with a large challenge tackle the toughest parts first leaving the less difficult for later, others start off with the easy stuff and hope to get some momentum in their task.  Some people put the roll of toilet paper so the loose end hangs over in the front, others so it hangs under in the back.  Some people put both their socks on then their shoes, while others go sock-shoe-sock-shoe, while yet others skip socks altogether and just go flip-flop flip-flop.  No two people will do everything the same way.  It is part of what makes us unique.

Your mother and I have some different processes.  For example tonight your mother asked about some printouts I was to bring home.  In my mind, I was unsure if I even remembered to bring them home from work, so with this thought in the back of my mind I started walking around searching.  I was searching in areas I knew they would not be, but I actually was more searching my mind for an image or an item that would strike a chord in my mind on where these papers were.  The physical search for me was more symbolic and simply part of my process.  Your mother however saw this and saw it as a waste of time as she   knew where the papers weren't.  So she told me, "No way they are there".  Perturbed, that my mental search was interrupted with the fact that my physical search is useless, I moved onto another spot.  "Nope those papers there have been there for months." A bit more upset, both by my process being interrupted and the fact that a pile of papers has been on the same spot on the steps for over a month, I mustered as much calmness as I could and said "You are going to have to let me look, even if I am looking in places we both know they are not".  Of course I was more upset at myself because no image was coming to my mind and I had almost convinced myself I had screwed up and left them at work.  I walked around aimlessly switching between the physical and mental search.  I looked at items and images and when searching the kitchen, which I had no illusion that the papers were there, I saw a shopping bag.  I had a flash in the mind and knew I had put the papers in a plastic bag and then put them in my CDW computer satchel.  Now my hunt switched from the mental to the physical.  I gave up and told your mom that it was in my computer bag and I must have left it in work.  She informed me where my computer bag was and we retrieved the papers and all was well in the world.

You see my process is not the fastest, nor the most intuitive but it did accomplish the task at hand.  For more dire "hunt the item" situations, I have a different approach but in this case it looked like the clueless husband wandering around doing nothing.  But luckily your mother let me go with my process and everything worked out.

And that is one of the challenges of the world, this life, and definitely of relationships and marriage.  You must learn to accept people and their process.  I have heard the bitterness of the divorcee saying something like "I hated the way she vacuumed" or "the way she brushed her teeth"  It is the littlest process of someone that can be loved or hated.  Learn to accept and overlook those processes that bother the heck out of you.  Practice your mental judo if you must teach someone a better way of doing things when you need to change the results or their process. And always realize your process may not be the best and just as someone annoys you with theirs, your way of doing things can be driving someone else crazy.  Learn to communicate the whats and whys of your process and learn when to adjust your process if need be.

Sincerely with love from your dad,

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