I’ve just spent a frustrating hour trying to connect to the internet at my favorite coffee spot in Milwaukee. The tribal hold music was stirring my insides into a fury as I thought about my relaxing evening being wasted waiting for a support tech to help me connect my practically-new “wireless-ready” laptop to the internet. I was thinking how much I wished I had convinved my dad that the mac was right for me (sorry dad) and how much time I have lost trouble-shooting my internet connection at any number of wireless hotspots and rebooting my computer at home since every time it goes on standby I lose my connection. Oh well, maybe the mac would do the same thing, and it just goes to show that stubbornness runs in the family.
The funny thing is, I wasn’t planning to spend my evening surfing the web, or even blogging. I bought this writing guide the other week and have decided to go through it, working on the exercises and learning something about my future career(!?). But approaching the lake on my way here there was this big, bright full moon hanging right over Lake Michigan, peeking out from behind the skyline as I drove east on I-94. I had all these beautiful thoughts that I wanted to blog when I got here, but instead I killed it with minute after long minute of technical frustration.
Oh well, I mention the family stubbornness for a reason. I had a brief conversation with my dad recently–I don’t actually even remember how this came up–but he mentioned his tendency to not change his mind or behavior when he knows others may be watching. For example, he said that after living in Indiana moving houses (literally, like on those giant trailers) for a few years after college, he came back to Milwaukee deciding to be much more assertive in his life. I am not sure exactly what he was referring to, and I forget what exactly we had been talking about, but I realized I have this exact same tendency. I have a history of being ridiculously concerned about what people who know me think. I know I still do it at work, but I think I have partially cured myself of it in my personal life.
Example: When I was in high school I was dead set against going to UW-Madison because I figured everyone who went there had to be a crazy drunk and I didn’t want any part of that scene. For many good reasons (one of which being it’s his alma mater), my dad wanted me to go, and when I visited the campus I totally fell in love with it. I waited, however, for six months to tell anyone that I had decided to go there.
I had been so vocal among my family and friends about not going to UW that when I realized I wanted to go there, it was embarrassing. I especially didn’t want my dad to know I had changed my mind and that he was right. It’s so insane I laugh about it now. By now I have done enough surprising things with my life now that my parents and friends expect about anything, and I feel very free and good about that. But I could still name 10 times at work when a policy has changed or I have had to confront people about a new way of doing something (that involved more work/time/energy) and I have hated doing it or just not done it at all.
Sometimes the motive behind this madness is not about rocking someone’s boat. Like tonight with the internet, I could have just done something else, but I couldn’t. It bothered me so bad that it didn’t work that I sat through that horrible music just to prove a point that I should be able to get on the internet. And with this computer, (which really is a nice computer by the way), but when my dad had suggested buying me a new laptop for a wedding present, I had wanted an iMac. He had his reasons (he uses and loves PCs) and I had mine (I have used and prefer Macs). It mirrored our ongoing political tension where his Republican views battle my liberal views for correctness, both of us feeling firmly superior in our arguments. The discussion went on and on until the older generation won out I guess.
Anyway, it was funny, the other night we were at my cousin’s wedding and my husband Fermin and I were sitting with my family, and my dad and I started to get into one of our mini-discussion/arguments about something stupid, and Fermin said something like he guesses if my dad argues like that that’s where I get it from. Ha! How true, how true.