Everybody’s normal till you get to know them*

so, husband and I went to visit a friend of his, who was living with his mother – this was some time ago, but it’s coming back to me now, as the lesson I learned then is relevant to me at the moment.

friend’s mother invites us into the lounge. there is a small sofa and a few chairs. the chairs are arranged in a straight row, and that row is at a perfect right angle to the sofa. friend and his mother are on the sofa, husband and I are on the chairs, and I feel really really uncomfortable.

my thoughts: why is this woman so weird, why does she have such a bizarre need to have the chairs in such a straight row? this feels really weird.

I manage to gently move my chair back a tiny bit (not much room) and feel a tiny bit less stressed.

later, when husband and his friend go out for a bit and I’m left alone with friend’s mother, she starts clearing the tea things away and I help and then I watch, stunned, as she moves my chair back to the “correct” position…

how odd, I think to myself, to have such a strong need for the chairs to be just so…

home at last, I can relax and get comfortable… husband and I sit together in the lounge for a while, and when he gets up and leaves the lounge I go up to the chair that he had moved and I move it back to be in a nice casual diagonal angle to the sofa – just the way I like it…

but, hey, I’m not weird, am I? ;-)

 


*post title nicked from a fantastic book by John Ortberg

29 thoughts on “Everybody’s normal till you get to know them*

  1. My pleasure, lubak, if at least I can entertain people with my insights then my efforts have not been in vain…but seriously, if you can see the funny side of it then you're getting my point precisely!

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  2. I've come across a few people in my life that had similar "Wierd" ideas about how furniture should be placed. Several like chairs to be in straight lines, makes me feel like I'm at the Doctors or Dentists.

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  3. I think we all fall prey to that one one in one way or another It is a human trait to measure other's achievements according to our own standards , as if our own standards are the one to be copied , the ones that prevail , that should be the benchmark.People who have travelled extensively tend to have a more opened mind, and will more often do as you did and sit back (in the correctly positionned chair :)) to put themselves into question , and not take themsleves or their habits for granted . Many times I caught myself criticising others, only to later admitting to myself when I had time to reflect, that after all I too, must be really weird , or and wrong ….I am thankful that I am still able to refflect , because I know that I probably will never cease to judge and criticise according to my own standards: i am too weak and too old to change :)

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  4. And I've never heard of the kettles. :)Bertrand Russell was a British philosopher, 1872 -1970. Mostly logic/semantics. Co-author of "Principia Mathematica" – with Whitehead. Also famous for his "class paradox".

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  5. lol… no, hilly, I don't want to be normal.it's just that I needed to remind myself that it's not only other people who have weird quirks, I'm just as bad. I needed to do a bit of mote-picking. (or is it plank-picking? whichever it was that I'm supposed to pick first out of my own eye)

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  6. well, yes, sure, there ain't no such thing… it's just that it's so easy to look at someone else and say: why are they so neurotic about xyz? when at the same time not noticing my own neurotic tendencies.

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  7. the chairs are arranged in a straight row, and that row is at a perfect right angle to the sofa….Reminds me of the sterile way my stepmother used to keep our apartment. Plastic on the sofa, etc., kind of obsessive compulsive I would say.

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  8. 1. 'How do you like your tea?' I ask 'I like it just nice' they say. WHAT does THAT mean ? !!!2. One summer, while young, I went with a lady friend in a rowing boat on a river; but, first, we bought some ice-cream. I rowed, and she looked after the ice cream. After a little while, as the sun was hot, I suggested 'Shall we have the ice-cream while it's nice?'. 'Yes', she said. 'Shall we stop now?' I suggested. 'Not yet' she said. After a few minutes: Repeat. A few more minutes: Repeat. Then I noticed she said, 'When it's nice'. I had said 'While it's nice', because, to me, ice-cream is nice only while it's still frozen hard; but, to her, it was nice only when it was considerably softer. (I know now they say you only get the flavour when it starts to melt – which just goes to show that there are a lot of funny people about).3. At a level crossing, where a road crosses a railway line, there are usually safety notices, together with flashing lights and ringing bells. In the north of England, a driver narrowly escaped death when he nearly collided with a train. Asked about it afterwards, he said the notice read: 'Wait while lights flash and bell rings'. The notice must have been written by somebody in the South of England, where the word 'while' means 'during the time that ..'. However, the driver was a Yorkshire man, and to every Yorkshire man, woman and child, the word 'while' means nothing other than 'until'. So he had driven up to the crossing, read the notice and stopped until the light flashed and the bell rang, then he started his car and tried to cross.True or false, the story has become quite well-known in England, and a few days ago I saw a notice at a level crossing saying something like: 'In the time that the lights are flashing and the bell ringing all traffic must wait'

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  9. Robert, I love the ice cream story!!! It's the same with breakfast cereal – I put milk on mine and go and do other things, to give it time to get to the stage that I call "nice"… which would make some people cringe and pull some nasty faces :-)

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