Friday, January 6, 2012

Sick at the Thought of It

It sounds so ridiculously overly-dramatic that I hesitate to say this, but listening to some people's thought processes makes me physically ill.

I told you it was ridiculous.

OK, I'll own up. Let me rephrase. While listening to some people's thought processes, I make myself physically ill. I am the one making me ill, not the the other person.

By ill, I mean how you feel when you try to read the newspaper while riding in a car driven by someone who brakes and swerves frequently. Or, you know, like riding a roller-coaster after a heavy meal. It starts with a sense of indigestion, then burping and belching, a little reflux and eventually a low-grade nausea.

Ridiculous as it sounds, that's what happens.

Someone starts talking about something that happened or something he believes to be important or something about which she feels indignant. No problem so far, he's just stating what he thinks are the facts of the matter. The car starts to swerve every once in a while as she moves from facts to reasons, logical sequences that justify her anger or explain what caused the situation or prove her point.

Burp. I can feel it coming.

Out of nowhere, the car racing down the interstate brakes, the tail of the roller coaster whips past the crest of the first climb. My stomach rises (or does it fall) as he casually non sequiturs into what he believes is a logical next step. My mind reels as she tosses out a perfectly valid but completely irrelevant factoid. I suppress a groan as he asserts that A caused B simply because they occurred around the same time. I cringe in horror as she mines the pristine field of logic and reason with emotionally laden adjectives and references designed to evoke sympathy or anger or angst. I sigh as she arbitrarily redefines perfectly good and well understood words to her own designs, and then rebuffs attempts to clarify saying that she has a right to her opinion."

I think...
Huh? OK, what you just said might be true, but what's that got to do with....

Wait a minute, why are you bringing up the fact that no one liked you when you were seven?

So what you're saying is that because John ate bologna on Thursday it rained on Friday?

Calling something yellow when it's orange is an opinion. Saying that by yellow you mean orange is a definition.

The reflux gurgles up my esophagus. The nausea sets in.

And yet, I don't stop the car and get out. I don't exit the ride when rolls to the bottom of the loop.

Why?

Hmm... first of all, this phenomenon is not universal for me. I don't particularly care that people are rational or logical. I really enjoy when they're not (which is most of the time).

The problem for me occurs when someone says that she really wants to figure out something or that something is important. I'm not talking about inner-personal exploration; I'm talking about basic how-to's, why-is-that's, and what-is-the-answer's.

I believe that he meant what he said. I earnestly and doggedly try to help her figure out whatever it is. (I'm a good figure-outer and I like to help.) I flip into hyper-rational mode and I think that I become a little too rational for most.

Hmm... I wonder if they get nauseas too?

Happy Friday,
Teflon

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