Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Routines - My Way or the Wrong Way?

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There is an old episode of "All In The Family" that illustrates brilliantly how rigidly we all adhere to our routines and patterns of behavior. In this episode, Archie and his son-in-law Mike ("affectionately" known as Meathead) are getting ready to go fishing, and Archie discovers Mike putting on his socks and shoes; first Mike puts on his right sock and his right shoe, then begins to put on his left sock and left shoe. Archie, baffled by this behavior, insists that the "proper" way to put on socks and shoes is sock, sock, shoe, shoe. This begins an argument about the correct way to clad the feet. Archie insists that if you put on both socks first, and you have to run out of the house in an emergency, you have two warm feet. Mike counters that, doing it his way, if you have to flee the house in hurry, and it's raining outside, you at least have one warm, dry foot. The disagreement escalates into an all-out battle over the simple act of putting on shoes and socks.

Over the twelve years of my marriage, there have been many occasions on which my wife and I have disagreed about the "correct" way to do such things as load the dishwasher, fold the laundry, drive the car, and other things that seem minor on their surface, but which could potentially escalate to an argument and someone getting his/her feelings hurt. We have finally come to the conclusion that just because someone does something differently than you would do it, does not make it wrong, just different. This was not an easy compromise. It's funny how seriously we all take our own eccentricities and how tenaciously we cling to the behaviors we've learned and practiced all our lives.

So, let me ask you this: Do you put on both socks and then both shoes, or do you prefer the one sock-one shoe method? Do you load the dishwasher from the back to the front or from the front to the back? Do you fold your socks by turning down the tops over the pair, or do you tie matching socks together to be sure they stay together? Do you squeeze the toothpaste tube from the middle or from the end?

Are any of these things worth arguing about? Is it possible to re-train your brain to accept new ways of doing things or will you hold on to "this is the way I've always done it"? Consider Archie and Meathead - they never did reach agreement about the sock/shoe issue, and the fishing trip was called off.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

More often, such arguments are usually about power or proof of affection - 'if you love/respect me you'll do it my way' - and less about right or wrong.

Karen S. Elliott said...

I do sock, sock, shoe, shoe. But don't care if I see a sock-shoe-sock-shoe person doing it differently. My ex-husband (notice the ex) used to argue with me about every little darn thing from parking to packing to stacking dishes in the r.v. to how far down to fold the socks - so much so that I'd finally give in and say, "OK!" and give in just to shut him up. I think the different ways we do things makes us unique. Dishwasher - when I'm at my kids' house, I let my son do it, because he does it better than I do. I don't think these things are worth arguing over - how important are they really in the scheme of things?

Marsha L. Randolph said...

I love this analogy. With writers it is publish traditionally or independent of a company. I have seen debates regarding the term "independent" vs. self-published. There are debates regarding free, 99 cent, or higher priced books.
The bottom line is: some people put their socks on first while others put one sock on then put the shoe on.
For the record- I rarely wear socks.

Amy Mercer said...

Well said. More couples need to have an understanding of the value of letting petty things go. I have had to accept such things as poorly folded towels in the linen closet. But likewise, I so appreciate being accepted in my own way of doing things.

Amy Mercer said...

Well said. More couples need to have an understanding of the value of letting petty things go. I have had to accept such things as poorly folded towels in the linen closet. But likewise, I so appreciate being accepted in my own way of doing things.

Pensacola Helene said...

This is a simple truth, but so right on point. My husband and I had those same arguments, until we realized that doing things different is not necessarily wrong, but like you say just different. Great principle for people to ponder on. Enjoy the example. I do the sock sock shoe shoe method. LOL

Bonnie Trachtenberg said...

Funny, I remember that episode and often think of it when putting on my shoes and socks (almost always sock sock shoe shoe). As far as all the other chores you mentioned, I don't have to worry about fighting with my husband about the right way to do them since I am the only one who ever does them! Except for the garbage and recycling. That's been designated his job (by me of course) and after seven years together, he still can't seem to get it "right"! ;-)

Sheila Deeth said...

I suspect my family follows the "my way or you do it" approach.

C.C.Cole said...

sock sock shoe shoe

jmrinaldo said...

Thanks for the comments, folks. They cracked me up!My wife enjoyed them, too.
Joe

Cherie Colyer said...

Hi Joe. It's been a little while. :)

I'm a sock, sock, shoe, shoe girl. And I like the dishwasher loaded from back to front (it just makes sense, although everyone else in the house could care less), I just fold my socks (no folding the top over the pair, it stretches them out), and I'm guilty of squeezing the toothpaste from wherever I'm holding it, but eventually I do push it all toward the top. Or hubby does, because the tubes always look like I squeeze from the bottom. Hmm. Something to pay attention to.

I don't think it's worth arguing over any of these things though.

Daniel Carter said...

I remember that episode. LOL I personally am a sock on both feet first kinda guy. =) Thanks for sharing Meat...I mean Joseph. hehehe

Blessings,
Daniel L Carter