Bliss dressed for eternity
take off your mask.
Let me see
what never lasts.
Lying in wait is the weight of age.
The story of things past take center stage.
I bow at the curtain, eyes down in regret
For the encore I’ll try to forget.
Everything in its place, I thought it’d be far
but the only by traveling did I realize what we are.
Statues stand in our poses of hopes
never moving a muscle to pull the ropes.
The reins of change call to courage we don’t keep.
The complacency in our souls is set to steep.
Comfort is calling and it’s easy to answer.
Only when looking back I see the daring dancer
that never was and could have been,
would be the same if we’d tried again.
I’ve had some friends lately go through the interview process (and some who will be soon). What I always try to impress upon people (and myself when I have to do it) is that the interviewer is bumbling around about as much, if not more than you are. I think the interview at my current job was pretty good, but then I remember this gem:
“Why is a manhole cover round?”
At the time I didn’t know that this was an open-ended question. I thought it was a riddle or a logic puzzle. I’m surprisingly good at these. I say surprisingly, but maybe it isn’t all that surprising when I answered:
“Because the hole is round.”
“Well, is that right?”
“Uh. There wasn’t supposed to be a right answer. It was just an open-ended question.”
“What else would someone even say?”
At the time I thought it was a dumb question, but another way to look at it is that they found out a lot by the way I answered. I work in a job that requires logical reasoning and troubleshooting all day long every day. We quest for the best and most logical answers. I thought I did well.
Still, I don’t know what other people answer this question with, so I thought I’d Google it (about two years after I was asked). Apparently the real reason manhole covers are round is because Microsoft started asking why in their interviews.
I was not the only one who gave the practical, boring answer, but some other answers:
“A round manhole cover cannot fall through its circular opening, whereas a square manhole cover may fall in if it were inserted diagonally in the hole. (A Reuleaux triangle or other curve of constant width would also serve this purpose, but round covers are much easier to manufacture. The existence of a “lip” holding up the lid means that the underlying hole is smaller than the cover, so that other shapes might suffice.)”
Okay, you got me. I’m not an engineer.
“Round tubes are the strongest and most material-efficient shape against the compression of the earth around them, and so it is natural that the cover of a round tube assume a circular shape.”
I’m still not an engineer. This would explain why the internet is so strong, it also being constructed from a series of tubes.
“It’s easier to dig a circular hole and thus the cover is also circular.”
That’s a good point. I spent a lot of my youth in Cape Cod digging holes at the beach and I can’t say any of them were squares or triangles.
“The bearing surfaces of manhole frames and covers are machined to assure flatness and prevent them from becoming dislodged by traffic. Round castings are much easier to machine using a lathe.”
Yet again, these are things I didn’t realize. For all you machinists, score one for you.
“Human beings have a roughly circular cross-section.”
Here are the dumb answers I was looking for! Phew, all of these alternate answers were making me feel inadequate! This one I can totally feel superior to: “We’re kinda (but not really) circle, so they are too!”
…and I burst out into song, from Fiddler on the Roof. TRADITION! TRA-DI-TION! TRA-DI-TIOOOOON! To me, this answer is like saying: “Because that’s how God made it.” or just, “Because.” Even traditions have origins, people. I call FAIL on this answer.
Important to note, upon some investigation, not all manhole covers are actually round. Yes. The question itself makes an incorrect assumption. While round is most common, they also come in square and triangle. I think this easily ties into the message I was trying to send here. People who are interviewing currently, and will be soon as you graduate, don’t be too nervous as you interview. Know that the questions you will be asked and the people that ask them are flawed. They make incorrect assumptions, they steal things from Microsoft, and most have no right answer.
Just do the best to show your best, and you’ll do fine.
So, what do you answer if you get asked why is a manhole cover round?
Because Microsoft started asking people why.
Why do I mind? Why is my open-minded brain unable to be completely comfortable with the idea of the open-ended relationship? Why does the prospect of him picking up women really get to me. …or as he asked,
“What are you so afraid of?”
Besides the obvious, losing what happiness I’ve gained, not being able to get closer and missing an opportunity to be closer, not being used to this position… Besides the negative connotations of pick-up with ideas of manipulating people for sex… There is more.
I was finally able to get the clarification from the boy on the subject of pickup. There are many methods of pickup apparently, and apparently one of them goes along with what I was thinking and Steve described in one of his quotes on a post:
“I compensate for my lack of self-confidence by deceiving others.”
The boy admitted that a lot of guys do that. He admitted he tried it, and it failed horribly. He wasn’t comfortable with being fake and it showed. It also wasn’t getting him what he wanted.
And what does he want?
According to him, he uses techniques learned in pick-up to break the ice and be able to display his best qualities to someone. He can project the kind of person he wants and what he wants from that person.
There are two camps of people in pick-up apparently. One of them is the people who use pickup to rack up their ‘score’ in the game, like notches on the belt. The other is the people who use pickup to learn how to approach and get the women they want and then move on to relationships with those people. These people are not necessarily lacking in confidence in other areas of their lives, they just have a hard time meeting and getting anywhere with women. The latter type eventually move out of pickup, while the former stay there and rack up their ‘score’.
So where does the boy fall in this broader picture? He says he will at some point fall into the latter, but is not done with the journey. He feels like he has more to learn and experience. He may stay in it for not much longer, he may stay in it for a while yet. He doesn’t know.
I do have to ask, with how close and how serious we’ve been getting, why pickup now?
He admitted he wasn’t seeing anyone else right now, the people he was seeing when we started out were long gone. He’s been going to his pickup meetings, but hasn’t been picking anyone up.
He admitted that his intentions were to use pickup to attract people he wanted to eventually settle with. The settling itself though still scares him. It comes down to the classic fear of commitment. Like, he could buy a house right now. It’s a good market to buy a house. His rent is too high, it’d be a good investment. He doesn’t want to though. Why? He’s afraid it would ‘root him to a place’. Even though he could sell or rent it later, he sees this as an all or nothing, as if he’ll die in the house he buys. It’s symbolic more than anything, and the metaphor frightens him. This is the all or nothing syndrome I talked about him having before.
This fear goes even deeper into his relationship history: fear of repeating old mistakes.
The boy has had two major relationships in his life and both of them: unhealthy. One of the girls he lived with, and even financially supported. He was needy and so were they. He expected too much from them and as a result gave more and more hoping for himself to get back what he wanted and be fulfilled. He didn’t know how to express or get what it was he wanted. There was no good communication, expectations were unreasonable, and there was too much too fast.
Even with only two relationships, he’s gone further than I have, and made some of the same mistakes as me only even more hardcore.
He has been very needy in the past and is now firmly on two feet. According to him, what we have right now is the most healthy relationship he’s ever had.
He told me what he was afraid of: afraid of repeating the past and slipping back into bring this needy person. This is something I understand all too well, a common theme in my own worries.
Now I at least understand why our official relationship status is what it is. He’s afraid once he relabels what we have, things will change and the worst may come.
Now that I understand his fears, let me come full circle on my own. I didn’t realize this until we started talking, but the big issue really is that I am following relationship rules that I didn’t make and I don’t fully understand. They’re becoming defined, but I didn’t define them: he did. I’m still expected to follow these rules or stop seeing him. That’s an uncomfortable bit of control I’m giving him. I know that in other relationships I’ve had, I didn’t exactly control the parameters either- they were defined by canned traditions.
Things weren’t one hundred percent defined at the beginning, and they still aren’t. In one of my last posts I talked about whether or not people we both knew were off limits or not. We never talked about it, but he told me one day that yes, people who we consider friends are at least. There wasn’t a discussion, it was just something he felt like he needed so: new rule. The rule itself I don’t disagree with, but I do take issue with these rules seeming like they’re being made up as we go along and he’s the one making them. I know they are being made up as we go along because this is new ground for both of us. Even if I were to find myself being fully comfortable with a non-traditional relationship, feeling like I’m following someone else’s rules feels like it is against every fiber of my being. I am fiercely independent and fear people trying to control me.
The other side of that is with these rules, I can see other people. I don’t want to, however. I could try to make myself do it, but doing it because he is? That sounds like a bad idea.
I can flirt with other people, but so can he. Another undefined place is how far we’re allowed to take that while with each other. I don’t want to do the drama jealousy game when we’re out together. I also don’t want to have a double standard. This is the next thing we need to talk about.
I hate that I feel like I’m always the one who says, “We need to talk.” even if I only do it once in awhile. Even if parts of me feel better after wards, I’d rather be having fun than these sorts of discussions.
I’m all set with reading the rest of The Game. Maybe I should have forced the issue of talking about PUA sooner. He asked me why I didn’t. I asked him why he didn’t bring it up if he was waiting for me to. We were both scared of where that discussion would go. We can’t let ourselves be afraid of communicating, though. This isn’t likely the most scary discussion we’re going to have. Really, if we are too frightened to talk to each other at all, that’s where we should break it off.
So what do we do? The obvious answer is we keep talking, and discussing, and figuring these things out. We’ll see where things go from there…
I’d tried to bring it up before, but the conversation was again derailed- subject changed, glossed over, left for another day. I didn’t push. I was careful not to push.
Why did I think I had to last night?
It was late and we both needed to work in the morning, but it has been on my mind. I was afraid of the answer and the changes it could bring to this undefined, open-ended us I’ve grown fond of. Things between us have been light, fun, and tender. To lose what I’ve gained in the name of searching for something more, that might not even exist, seemed illogical.
And yet, it had been on my mind.
I dared hope things were going in a particular direction: upwards and closer. I’m a patient person. I thought it was only a matter of time. The hope was starting to approach expect, and I felt like I needed to bring it up or reign in my own thoughts.
I knew I might be the only one of two that thought this was going somewhere.
I was restless. He could see there was something on my mind. I don’t know how to hide things and lie, and I don’t want to.
So I ask if he thinks we’ll ever date exclusively, if he thinks this is going somewhere.
After a brief dance around the subject he comes clean. At some point there was the possibility, but at some point recently he also realized it was likely never going to happen for us.
So maybe at the exact moment where my mind dared hope, where romantic notions took root, he was having a revelation that we would reach a place, or have reached a place, an plateau out. It’s not a bad place to be, but it’s not going higher. We’re special, but not special enough, close, and yet still a million miles apart.
I’m reminding myself that not everyone I date is going to even approach the possibility of being someone I will be with for a long time. Not every person I feel for will settle in a deep place and stay.
He feels guilty for not telling me when he realized. He knew that I was headed in the opposite direction as him- where I started to hope, he started to realize. I feel a little betrayed. Why do I have to be the honest, courageous one and bring up the difficult topics?
It’s not a big betrayal, and he was honest when I asked him point blank, but it still hurts. And he disappointed himself and me and he knows it. It’s the first sad moment since we’ve been dating. I remember every reason I felt great to be free of this exercise in attempting this level human connection. If the results always equal less than, why do I keep trying the same equation? I think I’ll get bigger numbers to add up to something substantial.
I asked him why he dates people. He never gave me a real answer, instead he asked me. I told him I didn’t know. Then I told him I was looking for a real fucking connection: with understanding, yet learning and wonder, and once that connection was there, caring, and with that, ultimately, a companion. I’m not so naive that I don’t know most, if not all of these connections will be temporary, but I still sometimes want to settle for a little while in that comfortable place where there is someone.
He admitted he didn’t want to exclusively date anyone anytime soon.
I asked him why and he said he needed to improve himself first- to get to a place where he was settled and happy with who he was. I laughed and told him I hoped he never was, because it would a sad day that he thought he was beyond improvement. We’re young and unsure in life right now and he thinks there is a magic switch somewhere that is going to turn on adulthood and allow him to settle into someone and something closer to perfection.
I tried to get every ounce of hurt out of my system. I tried to let it move through me and out of me and not burrow its way into a hole where it could stay and fester. After it settled I tried to answer the question of ‘What now?’.
I knew he was looking at me waiting for that answer. He told me his sister went through something similar recently- wanted more from a guy and he didn’t have more to give. She broke up with the guy. It seemed like he was trying to give me an easy, natural progression to end it if wanted to.
He thought it was over for a moment, that he’d messed up. I looked at him and couldn’t be angry; he’s under my skin still. If things can’t move to a new height, I’m still not ready to come down quite yet. I’m glad to know where I stand, at least I have that. I let him know that at some point, I wouldn’t be able to wait. At some point I’d have to finish moving on, as we’re not going anywhere.
But in this moment, for right now, we’re going to keep having fun. I warned him though, we need to stay honest or we’re going to ruin trust between us and both be hurt. Honesty isn’t just about lying, it’s about disclosing expectations and revelations. You can’t knowingly let the other person living in a place of false hope or ideas.
He knew I thought this was going further and he knew it wasn’t. Even if it was a recent revelation, he should have told me. He didn’t know how to bring it up. He didn’t want to hurt or ruin what we had. He was scared.
Did he know how scared as I was, trusting and knowing this might happen? You lend a part of yourself when you trust and it’s up to that person to take care with that. I’ve always been good at doing that for other people, but I have never picked the right person to give my own. And now that he has it, I plead with him to not approach this place again. I need to be able to expect the truth.
I’m going to try not to make more of it than it is. I’m fast to forgive and I hope faith isn’t misplaced.
I feel like I have shut him out a small bit for my own sanity, while also feeling him thrust closer. I’m throwing up an arm to his throat and not letting him pass my guard. A comparison to jiu-jitsu is appropriate as we participate in this dangerous sport, both looking to improve, to find a better position, and having a ton of fun doing it.
There’s also a hint of desperation, like we know our days together are numbered and some day, maybe sooner than one or both of us would like, this will dissolve. And what will be left then? Will we speak with each other? Look each other in the eye?
Usually when these things are done, they’re done with only memories remaining and an unlucky bit of bitterness. Maybe this time, I hope this time, we can skip the chapter of hurt, betrayal, and unnecessary drama and have a fine farewell at the end. Dare I hope for a lasting, meaningful friendship?
In the meantime, we still have this. Togther we will train jiu-jitsu, eat sushi, cook, dine, party, visit the aquarium and tour the chocolate factory, talk about inane topics and subtle psychology, exchange strategies for our careers, share insights and passions, play and banter, geek out, and make as many fond memories as we’re able.
I’m a bit sad, but I’m also relieved at a bit of added definition. These thoughts have been aired out so I can move past them. I don’t know where I’m going, but now I do know that in the end he’s ultimately not coming with me.
…and a man asked, “Why are girl geeks so rare?”
…and all the women in IT and other geek fields raised their heads just far enough to roll their eyes, give the ‘for real?’ look, blink, sigh, giggle, give the evil eye, laugh, rant about feminism, turn it into a ‘your mom’ joke (“…because we were all too busy with your mom for her to have a daughter after giving birth to you”), etc.
A similar question could be asked about a LOT of things if you just missed the fact that all kinds of sexism is still out there.
Some of the hottest topics in the U.S. right now are womens’ rights over their own bodies and whether people who don’t want to have and guy-girl marriage have a right to do so. Some of the hottest topics in the world are whether or not women have the right to even make their own decisions and live if they try to.
It is always surprising, yet not surprising, that people miss what gender identities other than strait male, go through. They want to know why they don’t see it, and my easiest answer is that it isn’t happening to you or you’re so conditioned to accept it, that it is no longer an issue.
Women accept that they are no good with technology, or cars, or sports, or other ‘guy things’ from a young age. And then there are people like me that you wonder if we’re into it just because it was implied that we weren’t supposed to be.
Not all sexism really bothers me. It’s not worth my life, my energy, being negative to get worked up about even little thing. Some people do that, and in doing so miss the real stuff. They are too busy concentrating on the small symptoms rather than the real disease. I’m not talking about a ‘your mom’ joke or ‘that’s what she said’, though those sorts of things exist instead of ‘your dad’ or ‘that’s what he said’ and one wonders why even if just a little.
Just like homosexuals are more concerned with having equal rights, getting and keeping jobs, and feeling safe than whether or not they say ‘gay’ in a certain way at purepwnge.com, I am not going to care if you hold the door for me or not.
I’m talking about the sorts of things that allow the initial question to be asked. How does it happen that women have an extreme less of a chance to have certain careers, that are well within their abilities, in their future?
I could fill this post with stories of my own experiences. Explain I’ve seen sexism and sexism be enabled by guys and gals alike. Yes, many women help sexism along plenty. But I think really what I am trying to say is…
Really? You don’t know that sexism is alive and well?
If that’s the case, open your eyes a bit wider, read a little, listen a little harder. Even if it is not happening to you, you should be able to see it and empathize and even help stop it in some small way.
Since you’ve asked the question, I guess you’ve decided for some reason to care. Asking this question has likely lead you to see it (or marked your really seeing it for the first time). You don’t need to look far to get some whys.
However, there is no real satisfactory answer to why are world is filled with prejudice. Why don’t people don’t treat people as just people? I don’t know.
Why do we have to arbitrarily label, categorize, and judge each other as being inferior?
I don’t know. I wish we’d stop, or at least try. I think that’s where I get mad and pick my battles is when people don’t even care enough to give a sincere effort to be more sensitive to what fills someones shoes. Take a moment to think about what it takes to walk their mile, especially since we have the power to make that easier for everyone with so little effort.
And with that, I will vacate my soapbox for the time being.
To change gears into something more silly while maybe getting a glimpse of walking even a tiny bit in a woman’s shoes, check out this Smartest Man in the World podcast. It’s one of my favorites. That Rory is one funny guy. :)
A few of my bloggin’ buddies have been posting their “Code’s of Life” lately, namely one Rory Blyth and Tao Cowboy. It’s enough to make one want to join the philosophizing and reflecting party (woo!).
Mostly my views have grown and changed as I’ve wandered through life. I’ve never been one for holding onto an idea once it’s proven not to work for me. One thing that’s remained a constant is importance placed on honesty. Being true to oneself and others to me is as big as the inhabitants of Moonglow in the world of Britannia (screen shot from Ultima IV).
Honesty might have been even more important to me growing up. Let’s face it, most adults are anything but honest with children. I’m not talking about Santa Clause, I’m talking about the lies designed to protect us. I resented that kind of dishonesty as much as the malicious kind. Whether or not we as adults want to admit it, the effect can be as, if not more, devastating than any truth told. Kids will find out the truth later when they grow into adulthood, or more likely, much sooner than you’d like. When this lie is told the truth can be found in an embarrassing, painful, or even dangerous manner. One of my first thoughts goes to my mom who had my older brother when she was fifteen. I know the people in her life thought they were protecting her by keeping her ignorant about the birds and the bees, but really what they did is deprive her of a choice.
People think children aren’t old enough to make choices, and perhaps no one is. However, in life we are forced to make choices that we are no prepared to. This happens all the time. I hope that if I have children I’ll do everything I can to give them the ammunition to make choices wisely when life forces them to. Above all, I hope they don’t have to make tough calls, but they will. We can’t be there every second to chose for them, and knowledge is power.
I hope this for my younger siblings, one who just had her last day of high school, the other who is in his preteen years. I know that I am a big influence in their lives and that they are listening to me and looking to me for influence, even when they are pretending or trying not to. We learn from our surroundings, especially the things we give credence to. I might just be another person, but I’m also a role model and example whether or not I want to be.
I believe in the power of honesty and I believe in the power of learning, and to me they are one in the same. If you’re smart enough to ask the question, you deserve honest input, even if (and especially) the answer isn’t certain. There I think is the key to personal growth and betterment in this life.
My younger of my siblings is eleven. People have described him as a smartass and too smart for his own good. It’s true. I remember being described that way when I was his age. I remember being eleven and all the things I knew and was dealing with that my parents didn’t know. It’s hard to look at him and think that he might have some of the same heavy issues in his own life. It’s hard to look at him and consider he might have even harder decisions to make than I did. I know he’ll learn things from other sources, popular culture and his peers. I know he might absorb all the wrong things if I don’t speak up and even more, listen. I know I can’t learn for him and he will have to make his own mistakes, but I hope they are harmless and few. I listen and when he asks, I try to give him the best, most honest answer I can give. I’m trying to give him a fighting chance to make the right decisions. Without real information about the world around him, how is he going to have chance?
Beyond that, I want to teach him the value of honesty with my own example. He will become his own person regardless. He’ll find his own life code and values. He’ll have his own obstacles and choices. Even if I don’t see it, I know he has them right now. Every day he’s forming new opinions, testing the waters, and becoming more independent. I’ll always be here to tell him truthfully what I think and I hope one day he will return the favor by doing the same for others well into adulthood.
As for my sister, who is just like me and just the opposite of me in so many ways, I’m proud of her. Sure, she doesn’t hold dear all of the same things that I do, and she’s made a million choices I would never have. All the same, she’s doing better than okay. She’s reached the official United States definition of adulthood: eighteen. She has her High School Diploma. She is attending Anna Maria college in the fall. She works. She has a ton of friends. She’s a great cook and musician. She’s made it. She’s is doing well. I know I can’t take credit for the person she’s become, but I still like to think that I did okay in my part in her upbringing. I was right to trust her to hear all I had to say and make all the tough choices she’s had to up to this point. Life is not easy, and making it this far doing well and no small accomplishment.