Optimists, Pessimists, Physicists.

I am not a natural optimist. In fact, I like to call myself a realist. That means, to the uninitiate, that I am a pessimist. Fine, so be it. That doesn’t have to mean I’m bitter and angry all the time. You have to admit, there are more kinds of people than just two.  There are lots of different kinds of optimists and pessimists. Try to think of it this way:

Pessimist 1: Expects the worst, gets the worst and takes a melancholy joy in such. Result: a style of happiness Ex: Eeyore.

Pessimist 2: Expects the worst. Sometimes is blind sided by God’s Hilarity and is proved wrong. Result: Confused. Ex. Me.

Optimist 1: Expects the worst, and has the delight of being occasionally proved wrong.  Result: Happy. Ex: My mom…

Optimist 2: Expects the best and is regularly let down by everything. Result: Sad. Ex: I can’t think of one. But it’s someone tragic.

However, don’t you think that this is still an oversimplification? This glass.

It is half full to you, half empty to me…but to others…. maybe there are just 6 ounces in a 12 ounce glass. There is another kind of person out there. One who is sometimes happy and sometimes sad, but as for a general outlook it is… factual, observant, and remarkably matter of fact.

Let me show you what I mean with a little moment from my family history.

My mother enjoys rearranging furniture. It doesn’t matter if the previous arrangements were nice or comfy. Every so often, she just likes to move stuff about. She is also deliberately unconcerned about moving heavy things. The sleeper sofa, oversized chair, full bookshelves and the piano were as fair a game as end tables and fireplace sets. One day, she took it into her funny head to move the piano from the dining room into the drawing room. Past the table, through the door, around a corner. Just a heavy heavy piano. Oh and being moved by one woman, one girl and a 12 year old boy. Yeah, I know. Can’t be done.

Oh yes it can! my mother put her back into the matter and began to shove.

Perhaps, if we turn it about….. my brother said.

Honestly, Mom, stop trying. It can’t be done.

Sure we can!

Really, if we turn it, it’ll be fine!

We argued and shoved. Mom laughed. I cried. My brother maneuvered. My mother nearly brought us to ruin at the corner with her cheerful piano pushing. At that moment, I totally despaired. Look how the piano is wedged between rooms! Now my brother will be stuck in the drawing room forever and we will have to pass him food through the piano legs! He’ll never get married, and I’ll never be an aunt! Mom stood back undaunted but confused and said, “Hm.” My brother pleaded with us. JUST TURN IT!

By turning the piano, we got it through the door. The corner was navigated in much the same fashion. Mom’s zeal wedged the piano hopelessly in a corner. I wailed. Now my brother would be stuck in a tiny corner forever. We’d have to knock out a wall to get him out. The whole front of the house would be destroyed; even the pretty sunburst shaped decoration over the front door. If we didn’t, he’d die back there. My brother calmly explained. “If we turn it….”

In the end, I was wrong. The piano made it to the proper corner. But my mom was wrong too. Mere optimism and feats of strength did not get that piano where it was going. In the end, it was my brother, evaluating the space and the shapes, thinking through the ramifications, adjusting for the insanity wrought by female family, it was my brother who got the piano to its new resting place.

It’ll never work.

Sure it will!

If we turn it…..

Now, I thought at the time that this was an isolated incident. I also thought it was isolated to my family. I did think that.

After my brother got married, I took charge of his cat. This cat is her own long long tale (get it?), but for now, I’ll say that she is feisty, and adorable, preferring to climb things over any other activity. To give her something to climb, my mom donated an old trellis. This is a large trellis, but it had to come back with me from my brother’s house to my house.

Terpsichore said “It’ll fit in my car!”
“No, no, …no it won’t ever fit.” I said.

Then my brother’s friend, a brilliant young physicist, entered the conversation. Clearly he was pondering and ruminating. He put his head on one side and said thoughtfully,
“I bet if you turned it, you’d be fine.”

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3 thoughts on “Optimists, Pessimists, Physicists.

  1. I think that I would really like your mom. Having been a champion furniture-mover myself, I have generally made the room look the way I wanted it. I didn’t have a son though to help me, so just learned a thing or two during the 28 moves in almost 34 years of married life. I chalk it off to the fact that my father is an engineer and somehow passed down to me the, “I bet if you turned it, you’d be fine.” My husband has learned to stand aside when the furniture moving “bug” hits me. Never underestimate the power of a woman who wants the furniture moved! 🙂

    Really enjoyed this. Thanks for a smile to start my day.

  2. Well said.
    I usually refer to myself as a recovering cynic. I knew that the world likes kicking people where it hurts, and that happily-ever-after is unrealistic in the extreme. I considered myself a realist, of course. It took me a while to discover that my dark view of the world was as unrealistic as the rosy one I despised so much. Realism, in truth, is a recognition that neither optimism nor pessimism give an accurate view of life. At this point in my life, I much prefer and respect “if we turn it.” After all, with just pessimists and optimists involved in moving the worlds pianos, there would be no end of children stuck in drawing rooms or corners!:)

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