A few weeks ago I asked my older son to hang the washing. It’s usually my job to do but I was ill and needed help. Later, when I came to the room where the clothes were hanged, I was taken by surprise to see that all T-shirts and sweatshirts were hanging upside down. I mean upside down from my point of view, clothespins attached to the shoulder parts instead of to the bottom parts as I do that. My first reaction was to go and redo that immediately but I remember too well how I hated when my mother told me to make beds and when I made them, she went and made them anew. I admit, her effort bore more fruit as the beds looked perfect when she was finished but you know… So instead of ruining my son’s work I started to ponder over these small matters.
When I was a little girl, my mum used to sort books in our bookshelves according to their height. The biggest one on the left side, the smallest one on the right side. I liked that and followed her example. Of course, I saw differently arranged bookshelves by my friends and in libraries but it never occurred to me to question this particular arrangement. It belonged to the ways things were done at home. This changed when I brought home my boy-friend and caught him staring at the bookshelves, laughing and not believing his eyes. He couldn’t understand the reason for such arrangement and I couldn’t see what was so funny about that.
Or another example. When hanging washed socks, I used to hang them on the line one next to the other, but not in pairs. When they were dry, I put them in a pile and started looking for the pairs. My husband likes to hang socks in pairs. He says it’s easier then to deal with the dry ones. I can’t see the difference because there is still the task of the sorting you need to accomplish, either before or after the hanging. It’s only true that when you need to take the socks right from the line, it’s easier to find them when they are paired.
Facing such situations, many times I find out that I could do things better. In many cases though there are pros and cons regarding both options and neither of them represents the one and only right way. The choice may be just a question of personal preference. I keep hanging T-shirts in my way as it suits me better. I have accepted to arrange books in a different style which is easier to keep and which is more meaningful. I have accepted to hang socks in pairs as my husband wishes but if I’m in a hurry or feeling a bit like challenging authorities, I don’t mind hanging them untidily.
These are just trivialities but very illustrative. We may do things well. Or just in a never challenged way we are used to. However, there are others who do the same things differently and it’s quite possible that their ways may be better or simply suit us more. It’s good to stay open-minded.