Friday, May 11, 2012

A Work in Progress

Since I started this little blog, I've been working on my communication skills. It's really amazing how therapeutically helpful it is to write everything down for the world to read. Granted, a small portion of the world actually reads any of this, but the practice is in writing it down to begin with.

I've discovered I don't explain things very well. I literally have tidbits of sporadic thoughts storming through my head all the time. When I'm in a room with quiet people, I'll sometimes spout one off just to see what kind of reaction comes out of it. But, these are usually carefully mulled over one-liners. If I have to explain anything all bets are off.

For example, I know, deep down in my heart, why the concept of "health insurance" is a bad idea. I just know it to be true. But, I've tried to blog about it at length and no one understands it. Does this mean I'm wrong? I don't think so. I just can't articulate my idea adequately.

I've recently been thinking I might try my hand at writing a computer programming book. People are always asking me how to write programs. I figure it's a curiosity thing and for some reason they think that I have a magic bullet so when I say, "You do it this way," it'll suddenly just make complete logical sense. For me programming is easy, but I've found that I can't explain to people why it's easy.

My first job out of college involved writing server programs on a Tandem Computer. To me, it was easy. I turned in my first assignment and the manager said, "You can't do this. It doesn't work." I loaded it up, ran it, and showed him that it did exactly what he wanted. He said, "We've been trying to do that for years and no one could get it to work." When I tried to explain how I did it, I got blank stares. I'm just not capable of explaining. I'd get irritated because people couldn't get it. One of my more empathetic managers took me aside and explained that not everyone was like me.

Since I started my little blog, I occasionally decide through months of internal agonizing that I have, perhaps, finally gotten better at explaining things. Then Durango comes along and shoots me down. He doesn't really do it on purpose I don't think, but he does it with alarming clarity and eerily coinciding with my sudden confidence.

Durango comes across as really mean spirited and I get defensive and crotchety. He thinks I'm overly crotchety, but he doesn't ever realize that the timing of his zings is impeccable.

My new challenge is to make Durango understand something that I write. I'll know I've accomplished it when his degrading comments make sense. Currently, every time he writes one of his belittling little diatribes, I find myself scratching me head and thinking, "Did I write that? Where did he get that idea?" Even if I don't win the argument, I'd at least like to feel like he's understanding my "flawed" point of view.

Currently, I understand what he's saying, but I don't know how he got the idea that I feel the way I do. It's like if I were to write, "The sky is blue." And he comes back with, "Stupid little Gar, everyone knows the sky is not purple." His argument is clear, but it makes no sense to me in my comprehension of what I wrote. Obviously, in real world examples, my verbiage is more complex (kind of like this long winded post).

1 comment:

  1. I understood almost everything you said. But, did we not agree it would work better if you wrote no sentences with more than 6 words and no words with more than one syllable?

    I'm sorry you misunderstand my helpfulness as being mean-spirited. This misunderstanding sort of shocks me. Really, it does.