Tag Archives: Problems

Unresolving Ducks of Confusion

This morning I was talking to a friend of mine in the UK, over the phone. I haven’t spoken to him in a while, but he is one of those friends that you just can pick up where you left off, you don’t need to keep up a lot of maintenance. Like if you have a pair of skis, you can just throw them in the garage when the winter thaws out and wait until next year.

Sometimes I wonder if it’s better to rent skis. I don’t think I use them enough to warrant buying a new pair every year, but some people get away with it. It’s like when you decide to try something new, and you put all kinds of effort and energy into it, and make big plans, then later decide that it wasn’t something that was as good as you thought it might have been back when you first started thinking about it.

But my friend was telling me about these new neighbors that he has, and they are keep strange hours. Not that they are loud or anything, it’s that they seem to be up half the night doing odd things. My friend wouldn’t really elaborate, but I got the idea that it had something to do with a new business they might be thinking up. His father, the guy next door, was telling him that they hope to corner the market on the particular niche that they are hoping to invest in.

Anyways, I was more interested in hearing if my friend was still married, because last I talked he was having some problems. Something about not being able to communicate very well. A lot of times people that are in relationships say the other person doesn’t’ communicate, until they remember that in order to understand what people are saying, you need to really pay attention to them when they speak. And it can be a lot more deeper than just words.

For example, my friend kept telling me that she didn’t like unresolved problems. Now those are two words that can mean pretty much anything. If someone asks me if I have any unresolved problems, I’d say of course I do. Everybody has unresolved problems. The problem with unresolved problems, is that in order to solve them, you need to make sure you are talking about the same unresolved problems, otherwise you might solve something that wasn’t even a problem to begin with.

When she started going on and on about unresolved problems, I thought she was talking about how her father treated her when she was a little girl, and she had all kind of deep emotional issues to deal with whenever she got close to being intimate with somebody. It turns out that her unresolved problem, at least when we were having the discussion, were about a phone bill she had called to inquire about, and the person was rude to her and hung up on her.  But then again, that might be related to her childhood after all, you never know these things unless you can really communicate in such a way that everybody knows exactly what you are talking about.

I was at a seminar once, and the teacher was illustrating this very point. She told everybody to think of a duck. And then she went around and asked everybody what duck they were thinking of. Some were thinking about a rubber duck. Some thought of a duck flying home for the winter. One guy thought of the AFLAC duck.

The point was, that even when thinking about a simple noun like “duck” a room full of people came up with a roomful of different ideas.

Now that is something to think about.


How to Stay Open to Solutions For Your Problems

A huge storm is blowing my neck of the woods. It might even snow tonight. I kind of like snow, because I never really got a chance to experience it much as a kid. Of course I have a friend that grew up in Minnesota, and now he can’t get enough sun. The hotter the better. I guess your experience can determine what you like, proving that reality can be subjective, when you take things into consideration.

One of the drawbacks of this huge storm coming in is there has been a large door banging shut somewhere. Since I’ve only been in my building for about a week, I’ve been listening to it for the past couple of days without really being sure where it was. You know when you can hear something, but every time you think you’ve got the location pinned down, it seems to be coming from somewhere else? Or when you think you can find the source, you seem to have trouble being able to find your way to the beginning of something? 

So tonight is extremely windy, and the door was really BANGING shut every couple of minutes. And I thought to myself, there’s now way I’m going to be able to sleep soundly with all that racket, so I’d better go have a look.

Off I go to investigate. It seems that it is a big metal door that is on the stairwell on the west side of my building. The door is really big, and really heavy. My first thought was to just simply shut the door, and that will be that. But there are two problems with that. The first problem is that it only shuts with a latch from the inside, which is inaccessible from the outside. So if I were to close the door, it wouldn’t allow other people to come in. It would be great for me, but not so great for other people. 

Sometimes when the obvious solution to something doesn’t seem so great when you take time to think how it will effect other people. If you just take a little bit of extra time to think of others, you can really create more benefit. Of course most people, like you, understand this, but a few people don’t, so I think it’s important to always go the extra step.

Then I thought of something. If I opened the door all the way open, like it normally sits without any latches or anything, it would be fine. The problem was that the extra wind was somehow getting in behind it and pulling it shut. Normally it just sits open, inside of a sunken frame just slightly bigger than the door itself. Because it’s so heavy, apparently it never closes unless somebody (or a very strong wind) pulls it shut. So I had an idea. All I had to do was find something to jam in between the door and the sunken frame, so it would stay open, and it would work fine. There seemed to be about a quarter to half a centimeter space.

So I came back to my apartment, and looked for something to jam in. AHA! One chopstick. I grabbed a hammer, and off I went.

Perfect fit. I pulled to make sure, and it was solid. Held open. Wouldn’t budge.

Not only was the obvious solution inappropriate given the consideration of others, the best way to fix it seemed to be exactly the opposite of what I’d expected.

Funny how that works.