Wednesday, December 31, 2008

"I Think I Can't, I Think I Can't....."


You too can learn what ever you don’t want to in just nine, count em, NINE years! All it takes is resistance for the first eight, and total submission for the 9nth. It’s not effortless but as they always say, “No Pain, No Gain!”

Thus began my hubby’s personal mission to teach me to read a map. “Sweetie Pie”, he’d say as he periodically would try to corner me for my geography tutorial, just sit down and relax! “I’ve got a nice assortment of yellow fluorescent markers, some fresh maps, and a compass. “Whoopie”, said I.

Ignoring me he would begin in a monotonous tone, “Now let’s begin by finding where we are on the map.” He would shove the map over to me and grin hopefully. “Well, I said,” where are we?” “You do it, he said encouragingly, ”Find where we are at.” Looking at the squiggly lines, I fought down a growing sense of panic and frustration. Turning the map so North was directly in front of my forehead and all the words were right side up, I sat and stared.

“Well?” “I’m LOOKING!” “Try over in this quadrant.” “Well that’s real helpful to people who know what quadrants are! Quadrants are sections of peoples bodies, I don’t see any cadavers on this map!” “Quadrants are sections on maps .” “Well that’s helpful,” I said, “does a map have veins and arteries too?” “I don’t think you are taking this thing seriously, ” he said looking rather hurt.

Looking him straight in the eye I said, “I fail to see why I should learn something that causes me this much stress. Learning should be fun! I have a private pilots license, a degree in psychology, and a degree in art. Why in the world should I do this thing that makes my brain hurt?” He stared at me with his mouth open.

“How on this earth did you pass the test for your pilots license if you didn’t learn to read a map?” “Easy, ” I said. “First, I faked it.” Second most maps for pilots aren’t covered with a bunch of squiggly lines crossing and criss crossing over each other. Third you only have to score 70 on that test and I got a 72. Two points overkill. I didn’t have to get every map question correct and by flipping a coin on the multiple choice ones I had a 50% chance of getting it right!” And lastly they got a little gadjet called a VOR at each airport so all I have to do is dial it in and they tell me which way to go.”

He stared at me a long, long time. “Remind me, “he said,”to NEVER fly with you, it’s dangerous enough driving with you!” “Fine, ” I responded, ” But I’ve only gotten lost once and that didn’t count because I forgot to set my gyroscope every-time I landed. Besides power lines are fun to follow when your flying.” By this time he had his head resting on his maps. “Are we done? ” I asked.

“For now.” he moaned. “BUT, I’m putting this map up on the door so you can study it every time you go out.” “Sure go ahead,” I mumbled. Periodically when the map reading issue would come up I would rip the map down. He would follow me around the house with florescent markers and new maps thinking today would be the day he would make it click for me! I tolerated this reasonably well until the moon would exert its phase on my female body. Then I would turn into a horrible shrew, throwing anti orienteering tantrums worthy of any two year old. “You are MEAN! Why can’t you leave me ALONE! I have DOCUMENTATION about dyslexia! IT IS A REAL THING!” I ‘d rip down the map and he’d put it back up.

“Don’t feed me that junk,” he finally said. “I will not give up! You can fly a plane, then you CAN learn to read a map.” This went on periodically for 8 years. I felt like an old wild horse that someone was trying to break. I began to rethink my tactics. He obviously hadn’t learned what it said in the books about dyslexia. I had to show him first hand to convince him. Here was my new strategy. I would put forth a serious, concerted effort and spend whatever time it took with him, studying and trying to learn to read the map. Once he saw that something in my brain made this task impossible for me, he would give up on his own. It would make for fewer arguments anyway.

But a funny thing happened to me on the way to trying to convince him. In one year, I was reading that map. The lines no longer appeared to be just a tangled mass. I knew how to tell north, and south, east and west just from being outside and looking at the sun. I could orient myself by the stars! The man who would not give up on me glowed with pride at my accomplishment! I felt a new sense of power, of self esteem! I began to think there was nothing I couldn’t do or learn. There was no greater gift that he could have given me. Thank you Lord for my OC husband.

“Now”, he said “let me teach you how to make bread!”


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