Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Standard Reality

One time in high school, a class was taking a survey about how long it takes people to get ready for school in the morning. When a student gave the survey to my two friends and me at lunch, I said it took me 30 minutes to get ready, and both of my friends said it took them 10 minutes. My two friends were surprised that it took me longer to get ready than it took them, and they started asking me questions about what I did in the morning. They asked if I showered in the morning, and I said no, I did that I night. They asked if I took longer to choose an outfit, and I said no, I picked out my clothes the night before. I knew they wanted an answer, but I purposely didn't give them one. Why? Because they seemed to think that 10 minutes was normal and that I needed a reason for those extra 20 minutes, when to me, 30 minutes was normal and I could have just as easily asked them why they took 20 minutes less.

This is a minor example, but I do this a lot when people establish their own reality as "normal." I did this every day in college, when people seemed to think that my schoolwork shouldn't take me as long as it did, or that I should be able to make time for something just because other people who had more work than I did made time for it. When people tried to get more info out of me, to find out why something was different for me than it was for them, I just acted as if my own way was the standard and that I didn't understand why they were questioning what was normal. Because there is no logical reason why 10 minutes should be more "normal" than 30 minutes.  So if I'm not giving you the answer you're looking for in a case like this, I understand perfectly well what you're asking - I'm just choosing not to accept your reality as more standard than my own.

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