#BlogElul – Understand
I don’t. Understand, most things, I mean. That’s my starting position. Oh, I understand basic stuff. I know how to do calculus and I understand that acceleration makes things move faster. I can conjugate a sentence in English, French, Russian and Hebrew (although not very well), and I can learn what the exports and imports of various countries are. Most things in school, whether I know them or not, at least I understand.
No, it’s people I don’t understand. In particular, how can they be so fundamentally different from me? I have no problem if they like a different flavour of ice cream, but completely different values? How can people not want to need and be needed by others, how can they not like kids, how can they not enjoy touch and sharing closeness or intimacy? If they do share these values, how can their priorities be so different in these areas that it looks like they don’t? Why isn’t everyone religious? Or bisexual? I am. It’s good. I don’t really, entirely get why you’re not.
I question how I’m supposed to be friends with people I totally don’t get. I mean, there might be huge other discrepancies as well – what if I can’t find a way to relate? These are people who hurt me every time I expect anything, not because they are malicious (although what do I know – I don’t get them) but because they don’t work the way I do, so my expectations are always thwarted. Friendship without expectation is tricky. I can’t say in my head, “I’ll meet up with so and so, and then we’ll hug, and then we’ll have a nice game of dominos, and then we’ll have ice cream together” even if that’s what we did the last 4 times we got together, because this time, the friend doesn’t feel like hugging for some mysterious reason, no longer plays dominos and has decided to eat ice cream less often. I just don’t understand why, and the result leaves me hurt and bitter, angry and confused.
I don’t even understand myself, really. It’s not just others that are a problem, I am too. Every day, my sensible logical mind comes up with useful, sensible, logical ways for me to be in the world, and every day, I proceed to act in ways that are totally and completely contrary to those my sensible logical mind came up with. I succumb to useless whims, I avoid work in lazy ways, and sometimes, I spend a good ten minutes, just sitting there, trying to convince myself to do the next right thing rather than something easier and more brightly coloured. Really, how can I be that immature? What’s wrong with me? I ask myself these questions and usually, the result is that I get stressed out which I can’t handle very well and the best way of dealing with that stress is a shiny, brightly coloured dessert or computer game and…
I don’t get God at all – but I expect not to get God. The tiny cells in my fingernails would have no idea why I cut them off every so often or what my random movements of fingers meant, even if they had consciousness. But still – God, You’re supposed to be nice, right? So why is there too much to do, too many people to deal with, friends that don’t share my values, and shiny distractions that I get caught up in?
I have over the years, found no answer to my lack of understanding. It doesn’t break down into a nice, simple collection of basic subtasks like a good jigsaw puzzle or a fun math problem would. I can’t compare it to something I can solve – “Oh, my friend’s lack of interest is just like this trigonometry question, and my inability to focus can be fixed using the cue cards I use for studying chemical elements.” Nope. Instead, I am down to playing guess and check, as an approach. Try this. Does it work? No. Try that. Does it work? No. Cudgel my brain to come up with another thing to try. Will it work? Probably not. Just saying…
The only thing that seems to work is laughing. I find I do better when I find it all pricelessly funny. It is really – here I am with my dominos set all laid out, and the ice cream chilling in the freezer, and my friend is standing there in a salsa dress saying, “time to go dancing, you ready?” Scenes like that are hilarious.
As for God’s idea of humour, there are high school kids with more class. “Anna is having trouble getting this project accomplished? Send her four more just like it that she’ll feel are necessary. And for kicks, give them all the same dead-obvious name. And make each one harder than the one before. Hmmm – one of them should be in another language, on brightly coloured paper….now make them all due today! Oh, and let’s give her a tummy ache so she feels like farting and puking when she’s nervous. I made a fart joke! Ha, ha!” Really, God? Really? It’s not that it’s hard, or anything – it’s that it’s silly. I would have expected better – but I guess all I can do is laugh at the jokes God makes at my expense.
I think that this year isn’t going to change this much. Maybe if I can be conscious about the fact that I don’t understand and I’m not going to, then at least I can switch to laughing about it sooner. Maybe if I try, I can appreciate the tacky jokes the universe comes up with faster and better. Then, while I still won’t understand, I’ll at least enjoy myself a bit more. A life filled with constant laughter – even if it’s mostly about myself – can’t be that bad!