Following written instructions is a primary example. If I am reading, for example, how to give my computer access to some a new technological marvel, I seldom get two sentences into the directions without becoming totally confused. I do not handle confusion well, either. Brain-freeze sets in immediately, followed quickly by total mental meltdown to the point where I am hard pressed to remember my own name.
I pick up the instruction manual and read: "Before beginning installation, be sure the framilizer is shut off. Next, take the osculating miramostat (Illustration B) and carefully insert it into the bifurvated scramister (Illustration M)." Usually, on studying Illustrations B and M with utmost care, I am totally unable to identify either the osculating mirmostat or the bifurvated scramister and I am reminded once again of a vending machine I saw in a subway station many years ago...a gleaming, ultra-modern device with enticing photos of the product offered. There was a slot into which money was to be placed but no opening from which to retrieve the product. None. Nowhere. Not front, side, or back (the machine stood about seven feet tall and sat directly on the concrete floor, preventing me from checking either the top or the bottom). I stood in front of that machine for five full minutes trying to figure out where the product came out, and never did.
Now, surely there had to be some sort of portal through which the product was retrieved. There had to have been, but I was totally unable to find it. And that experience pretty much sums up my dealings with reality: I just don't get it. My life is filled with "there has to be"'s when in fact, for me there isn't.
Yet given my high level of incomprehension, I am still a sucker for trying to do things I am told I must do. I belong to Facebook, which has recently been going through a minotaurs labyrinth of changes to make its subscribers' lives so very much easier. Theirs, maybe, but certainly not mine. I am told I must separate all my "followers/friends/whatever-in-hell-they-are's" into several categories: Friends, family, acquaintances, etc. (with lots of space to create my own categories). Since I have over 700 contacts, I subsequently spent far more time than necessary doing what I was told to do, only to realize that I am now unable to see posts from anyone in many of those categories. The reason I joined Facebook in the first place was to establish contact and get feedback from as many people as possible, which following Facebook's directions has now made either impractical or impossible.
I am then instructed that I can "+1" them. I have no idea what +1-ing does, but I set out to follow the directions to +1 them. I get about 46 +1s done when it dawns on me that maybe I should see just what +1-ing does. I still don't know, but I do find all 46 on a new Dorien Grey page which I'd never had before but which appears to be a carbon copy of my original page. I post a message to the "new" page, and find it does not also appear on my original page. So I now have two Facebook pages under "Dorien Grey" with no discernible crossover, and to be able to say something to the people on both pages, I have to double-post everything.
I do not want to double post everything. I do not want two Dorien Grey pages--which I basically cannot tell apart (other than the fact that one page shows I have 711 friends and the other that I have 46). Apparently they cannot be combined, and since both have the same log-in information, to attempt to delete one would, with my luck, undoubtedly delete them both. And even if I could, to delete one of them would also delete however many followers I have on that page.
If you were able to make one bit of sense out of the above, please let me know and I will send you a little gold star to paste on your refrigerator.
And let me make it clear that I am not blaming reality. It knows exactly what it is doing. I just wish I did.
Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Please take a moment to check out his website (http://www.doriengrey.com) and, if you enjoy these blogs, the recently-released Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (http://bit.ly/m8CSO1 ).