I could write a lot of blog posts with that title. Today's story comes from a friend who was promoted to Assistant Something Or Other on a military base. Lots of people wanted to tour this base, use it for events, etc, and his job was to act in a public relations capacity. The officer above him called him in to orient him. "People will call in with requests," the guy explained, "and it's your job to say yes to everything you can. When you can't say yes anymore, then you call me."
1. The Luddite shall have a very clear understanding of what they want, such as "I want to be able to have a text document I can access from anywhere", and shall repeat that sentence over and over again any time the Geek attempts to set up a "perfect system" to meet needs that the Luddite does not have. 2. Should #1 not work, the Luddite shall repeat regularly "I need it to be easy more than I need it to be perfect". In extreme cases of Geek Non-compliance, the Geek shall pay 25c for every mouse click in his/her explanation.
I am branching out into carpentry, which I have wanted to learn to do ALL MY LIFE. Okay, not all of my life. There was a time when I was a kid when my dad has a full workshop of tools and wanted to teach me carpentry--I didn't want to learn it then.
Anyways, this is the table I made, and it is BEAUTIFUL. You may not be able to tell that from the picture because it is the kind of beauty that rests mostly in how much fun I had building it, and not in whether or not it is actually beautiful.
I am amassing carpentry skills the same way I like to acquire all skills. By experimenting with whatever strikes my fancy, trying all kinds of new creative things, and of course with Gary's unwavering support. Which in this case expresses itself in him wandering past from time to time, nervously recounting stories about people he's treated in the ER after they learned carpentry the exact same way I am learning it.
I have acquired many new skills. I can use a skill saw, and more importantly, I can clamp wood so that the skill saw doesn't fly around. I have also learned to drill. And stain stuff. I am still having trouble, though, with the screwdriver.
I have always had trouble with screwdrivers. Some idiot, years ago, decided that there needed to be 4,392 kinds of screws, and little screw driver bits to match each one, and keeping track of 4,392 little pieces of metal for my screwdriver is not my strong suit. What works sometimes, though, is if you have a bit that is pretty close to right, and you press really hard. Sometimes that's good enough--especially if you're using a manual screwdriver and can go slow and pay attention.
If you're breezing through with an electric screwdriver, though, more often than not you hear KAJUNK KAJUNK KAJUNK and if you don't stop and change the screwdriver bit, bad things happen. The screw doesn't budge and sometimes gets wrecked, and sometimes the screwdriver bit gets wrecked, too. And if it really gets bad, there's this other loud noise that is like a Gary yelling stories about all the major arteries in your legs, and about how people can impale themselves on drills.
And then you say "this isn't a drill, it's a screwdriver, so stop worrying." and then he says, in a voice that sounds like he ignoring your advice and continuing to worry "WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO MY SCREWDRIVER?"
And then sometimes he says "Didn't you say you were going to spend today studying?" (He has very few stories about people ending up in the ER from studying).
Actually, he never says most of that stuff, especially not the part about me studying. Because he knows that reminding me to study doesn't get me to study, and it just annoys me. And we've been married long enough that each of us has a substantial tool belt and knows which tools apply when. We've learned to tell when the tool is wrong. You hear a psychological KAJUNK KAJUNK KAJUNK, and you know that nothing is moving. Doing it with a bit more force might work, and it might wreck stuff.
I'm reading right now about communication in Churches, breezing through the book thinking "oh, I know that technique. And that one. And I'm great at that". And this is sort of true. I can think of times when I've applied many of these skills quite well. The one skill that I really struggle with, though, is switching drill bits. Hearing the kajunk. Which sometimes looks like a person repeating themselves. Or rambling. Or in my own head, when I think "he's always so…". Or my most reliable kajunk, which is the thought "How could she do that?" Which is extremely valuable as a genuine question and extremely not valuable as an untested conviction.
KAJUNK KAJUNK KAJUNK. Stop, I remind myself. Switch tools. Running a screwdriver when the screw isn't moving is a good way to wreck things for good.
And, if you really don't pay attention, I hear you can end up in the ER...
...there is a problem with this idea. The problem isn't that it's too scary. The problem is that it's not true.
If you're looking for a nice change from me talking about Lego, Technology, and Spirituality, check this out... You can watch me talk about Lego, Technology, and Spirituality, on the Radical Spirit website. http://www.theradicalspirit.org/post/20487140202/sacred-lego-liz-james-seminarian-at-meadville Happy Easter!