One reason why I have so much trouble getting things done is that I never know where to start. It’s like going on a trip, and Back again…and still wondering what to do next. That’s the story of my life–back in early grade school, when all the other kids listened carefully to the assignment and put their pre-sharpened pencils to their paper and started writing…I always had a question that more or less amounted to: “What did she say? What are we supposed to do?”–-or some other version of “huh?”
The teacher would invariably say something like: “write your name on your paper.” This is confusing, as it assumed a sheet of paper was before me on the desk, as well as a pencil with a working point. Being dependent on specifics gives me momentary pause and a sidelong glance at the neighbor’s paper for clues as to exactly what to do. Does “write your name” mean: full name, or first name only? Uh… cursive or block letters? All capitals or a mixture of letters….on the right or left hand side of the paper?
Asking the kid in the next seat was problematic because it depended on his or her goodwill in not covering the paper so I couldn’t see it–not to mention that the kid had been paying attention. Raising my hand and asking the teacher to repeat the question could bring scorn and/or snickers from both teacher and fellow students, who were delayed while I figured out what was going on.
Is that MY right, or the paper’s right? How does everyone know that? Searching for widgets on the “right” causes a momentary pause, while my brain decides the answer. In my defense I must say that this pause is very brief, and usually reaches the proper conclusion.
Just ask someone…”did he say right or left?”
When filling in a follower request, invariably there is the Name question. Do they want my real name? User name? May I use a pseudonym? It can be a mystery. Where do you live? Do they want my country, state, a specific address like Tinytown, Texas? Or is such as “30 miles from the center of Lake Erie” adequate?
Those forms at the doctor’s office that seem to change every visit? What do they do with the old ones? When they want information about family health history…do they want Grandpa Pete’s rheumatism listed? How far back does the information go? Does it count to give one’s ethnic make-up as “American”–which could mean absolutely anything–or would it need to be more specific, such as Greek-Cuban-Eskimo-African?
And another thing, when filling out that ethnic-origin form…is it imperative that the genetic composition classification remain exact from one year to another? Does a giant computer compile this information and then match it with past forms we filled out? Can one get in trouble for listing an exotic gene-source?
My grandfather was born in Australia. Very cool…but when a grandson reported that fact at a “family tree day,” his teacher said that “no one is ‘from’ Australia. There probably is some semantic misunderstanding there, but it did confuse the little kid whose great-grandfather was indeed born in (from) Australia.
We claim a Viking in our family tree. We find that very cool, even when we realize that half the existing world could probably claim that heritage. They used to say that “everyone” in the United States claimed a Cherokee grandmother at one time. That always strikes me as the sort of fact that is difficult to work into a casual conversation at a party. “Well, yes, some of my great-grandkids DO have Sioux blood…or was that Aztec?”
These connections are SO relative 🙂