Monday, November 24, 2008


I sometimes find it amusing how our minds readily supply "reasons" for our irrational feelings. I suppose I should pick on myself before others, so here is a good example from last night.

I went to the gym pretty late. I had done some laundry earlier, and had one load in the dryer (dry but growing wrinkly) and one in the washer. When I got home, Ed had taken the dry clothes and put them in a laundry basket in my closet, and had dried the wet clothes, because he'd needed to get his own load of whites done.

I was angry. The clothes in the basket in my closet would need to be put back into the dryer and fluffed prior to being put away, and he'd done the other load without a dryer sheet. My mind seized on reasons this was wrong.

Can't you let me just have the machines on the weekends [since you have so much more time during the week to do laundry]? I considered asking. But this is ridiculous and untrue.

Now my clothes are ruined and staticky. Also not true - I merely finished up their drying (they were still a bit damp anyway) with a dryer sheet, and they came out fine.

I never handle clothes if I don't handle them in the right order; the clothes in the basket in the closet are doomed now. Well, in fact, I did handle them, and it's not Ed's problem if I'm incapable of the normal process of life.

Finally, I settled on the truth: I am tired and finding my stuff not as I expected was hard on me, but it was totally reasonable to move my clothes around so that you could do laundry, and in fact having both loads dry is more helpful than not.

Fortunately, Ed just left me alone after my original outburst, so that I could go apologize a few minutes later without further incident. It's nice to be trusted to be reasonable even if you can't get there right away. ("I knew I hadn't done anything wrong," he said, "so I thought it was a good time to just chill out.")

So now can I pick on someone else?

The other day, Ed and I saw a DVD player in someone's minivan - the kind that is mounted on the ceiling for the benefit of the backseat passengers. And Ed told me that his dad hates those, and that he'd seen one when Ed was last visiting and said they were stupid because "children should entertain themselves."

"So I guess you weren't really allowed to watch TV as a kid?" I asked.

"What? No, we did," he said.

"Oh. But why didn't you just entertain yourselves instead?"


Yep, this is just me being snarky again. If kids don't need to "entertain themselves" at home (where there are a million things to do), why should they do so while strapped into a tiny space for possibly hours at a time? I also ascertained that Ed's dad watches television, quite often, so apparently he does not how to entertain himself either.

I would think if there was any time it would be all right to let your kids veg out with some mindless entertainment, it would be while traveling in a car. At least when I was a kid you could move around freely. Heck, we took a whole drive to Florida in my mom's station wagon with the back seats folded down so the whole back was a (blanketed, bepillowed) play area. But now that we have all of this safety-mindedness (which I support), car drives must be more boring than ever.

Anyway, I think this was an instance of Ed's dad rejecting something because it's new-fangled and frivolous (i.e., through an irrational prejudice), and then having his mind supply a convenient rationalization.

Good thing that never happens to me.

1 comment:

Sally said...

I think in some ways, the DVD players in the backseat do allow kids to "entertain themselves" - if they can become engaged in the video they're watching, perhaps they will find less need to be entertained by their parent(s). In my day, the vacation drive backseat game was "Mom, she's on MY side!" after all. I cannot blame a parent who wants to keep the drive sane by distracting their kids, at least on longer trips.

I still recoil at them instinctively, though - perhaps due to the fact that they are (were? I haven't looked lately) always found in expensive, gigantic vehicles that I hate* and because they do push "child-coddling" and "zombie-kid" buttons in me also since I get this image of kids using them on all trips, not just long ones.

* To me, those huge SUVs seem to reflect a kind of nasty materialistic value orientation on the part of the owners and contribute to an arms race of ever-larger vehicles that leaves drivers of smaller, less expensive, less environmentally destructive (etc.) cars at greater risk of being killed.

As for the rest -- yeah. It's nice when you find yourself reacting more straightforwardly like "I am angry because the universe is not conforming precisely to my desires. Grrr." to these sorts of events.