05 July 2007

original, independent, and dumb ideas

  • Jul 5, 2007

original, independent, and dumb ideas

I have never been much of one to go with the crowd.

Probably the main thing that attracted my friends and I together in high school was that.

We were not necessarily so similar to each other.

A lot of people make a point of being "different", for its own sake, for the attention, whatever.

Many of us did that at some point, trying to not fit in, but at root, I think most of us had our own ways of doing things first, and figured if we were to be on the fringe anyway, may as well have fun with it.

It's different.

Me, I found my own ways to do stuff. No one suggested to me that I should, (or could) ride my bike to school (back in middle school). I never saw anyone else do it. I was the only one in the entire school. The happy van, I saw it, it was just perfect, so I bought it. Why pay rent? Why should only the homeless live in their cars? Why use deodorant when hand sanitizer does such a better job? You know what I mean.

I find that many, if not most of the people I find myself close to, or respect, tend to be this way too.

Don't get me wrong - I see value in the alternative, and there are people I enjoy who I would not classify that way. After all, there have been thousands of generations before us who have had plenty of time to figure things out. If we each had to reinvent the wheel, and fire, for ourselves, humanity would not be where it is today, (the bad or the good from collective knowledge). Nothing wrong with learning from others.

The trick is, I guess, to recognize which things have value and to discard the rest. Because sometimes an entire society is collectively blind to some bit of common sense and does something stupid for generations, (tank based water heaters, for example, or refrigerators with the compressor at the bottom and the freezer on top)

I notice this recently.

My mother and my wife, they are both this way. They have their own ways of doing things, which they think are better than how everyone else does. Having two independent minded people interact, it is inevitable that there be conflicts sometimes. I know that they both respect my opinion and consider my input, but when it comes down to it, neither care if I think an idea they have is dumb (like for instance traveling in the 2nd world on a new bike with non-standard parts, or suppressing weeds and grass with sheets of plastic). And in a way, I have to respect them for that. I'm glad that my word is merely one piece of input and does not override, even when I am right; well, when I am pretty sure I am. I wouldn't have it any other way.

I find it a little odd, ironic, that she (wife, not mother) thought for so long that she was passive and just going along, when she never was that way. As though she were any less independent than she is now. Not any time that I knew her. It was her who suggested we buy an RV together, and live in it, she who picked it... I remember debating philosophy, time, long ago, when she was just an acquaintance. I remember her choosing to leave home as a child. But she didn't feel it.
I guess a lot of us have a different self-perception than what those around us see as obvious. She didn't used to think she was pretty, and after all those modeling jobs, I'm still not sure that she fully appreciates just how beautiful she is. There are probably things like this about me too - but of course I can't imagine what they are.

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