Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Mental gymnastics

Sometimes I step back and more-or-less think "Huh! Look at that..." at my own thought processes. At the peculiar mental contortions it's possible to go through to justify a point of view, or the absurd bias it's possible to place on a situation. I'm sure I'm not the only one who does so, but since I'm only on the inside of my own mind looking out, and not yours, I won't be so cheeky as to accuse you of doing the same. I bet you do though.

Here are a few moments that have struck me recently...

The smugness of SatNav

1. When the SatNav comes up with the same route that instinct would have me take, I feel smug and vindicated that I'm some kind of Navigational Master.
2. When the SatNav suggests a different route to my own, I feel superior that my local knowledge is more cunning than some poxy little computer program.
It's a win-win situation!

Misplaced Cultural Superiority

Almost everyone I know has recommended I read Stieg Larsson's "The Girl With/Who..." books. I have therefore not read them. This may count as terrible cultural snobbery, or cutting off my nose to spite my face, or both, but I have a strange allergy to the kind of over-hyped, faddish, "best book ever" nonsense that went with these books. I like a lot of Scandinavian crime fiction - Henning Mankell, Hakan Nesser, Ake Edwardson, Arnaldur Indridason (with apologies to all the diacritics missing from those names). But I also have some strict internal rules about book recommendations. I find that people can generally be divided into two camps - those from whom I accept recommendations and those from whom I don't. There are some people whose houses I walk into and I recognise old friends on their bookcases, and know that we have common ground. There are some people whose houses I walk into whose bookcases make me wince. (There are, sadly, some people whose houses I walk into who have no books. I fear these people.) Stieg Larsson's books were recommended by people who read awful, awful tripe. I do not want to read awful, awful tripe, so I ignore all the good, sensible people who also recommended them and stick to my position of sneering condescension. Because the wrong-thinking people are right, and the right-thinking people are wrong. Right?

One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter

If I don't phone my friend it's because I'm busy, or tired, or stressed, or depressed. If she doesn't phone me it's because I've offended her in some unknown way and maybe she never wants to speak to me ever again.

If I don't invite a mother and child round for a playdate, it's because I'm hopeless at picking the phone up. If we're not invited, it's because I'm one of those nightmare parents that other people cross the road to avoid.

If I forget my cousin's birthday it's because I'm incompetent. If he forgets mine it's because I don't matter to him. (The impressive bit is when Cousin B and I mutually forget each other's birthdays. We share a birthday.)

If I hoot the horn in my car, it's because I've inadvertently pressed it with my elbow while trying to reach for the wet-wipes that have fallen on the floor in the passenger foot-well to pass to StickyBear in the back while trying to keep one eye on the traffic lights in case they change. If I hear a horn hoot it's because I've done something terrible and am about to be the victim of a road rage incident.

Conversations That Never Happened

I am more than capable, in fact make a habit of, having conversations in my head. I'm sure I'm not alone in that. It's what I do with the other side of the conversation that's impressive. Other people in my conversations, be they TheBoss, BigBear, one of the BearCousins, any of my friends, the woman who runs the cattery, or someone I accidentally walked into with a trolley in the supermarket, are all, almost without exception unkind to me. I have in fact spent the past four days having discussions with my colleagues that have resulted in me threatening to resign, in my mind. Because, naturally, when I went back into work today, nothing remotely approaching the conversations in my head took place. Far from it. Because despite my psyche's best efforts, actually, people aren't foul to me at every possible opportunity. And I never seem to learn my lesson.

So, go on, 'fess up, what are the mental contortions you go through? Don't let me think it's just me. If necessary, make something up.


  1. Jenny F Scientist26 August 2015 at 23:44

    I have whole imaginary conversations in my head. With other people. Sometimes I have them out loud. And I feel smug about being superior to people who don't vaccinate.

    1. Not just me then :) The car used to be my favourite place for having conversations out loud. Now I'm rarely there without LittleBear, and he's rarely *not* talking, so I've had to cut back a bit. With you on the non-vaccinators too.

    2. Jenny F Scientist3 September 2015 at 02:19

      Bug never EVER stops talking either. Sometimes he is talking and Tatoe is talking and Sweetpea is trying out all her baby noises and I just want to go drink in a quiet closet.