Let me start with a little story. The birth of my oldest son, Ian, was a long and arduous process. His mother wasn’t having the best time either. Over the course of a day, the contractions weren’t progressing and we were resigned to wait this out in the delivery suite rather than at home. During this time, I familiarized myself with most of the equipment in the room, and became very adept in figuring out the monitor, to the point that I could watch the contractions of the mothers-to-be in the rooms down the hall, and match the sounds (usually screaming) to the wave patterns I was seeing. Hey, I’m a geek….
Finally, we were making our own progress, and I dutifully took my place beside his mother, arm around her shoulder to provide encouragement and coaching. At some point during this, she began controlling her breathing and was a little agitated. She announced to me “I’m having a contraction!”, to which I replied “Not yet, it’s not showing on the monitor.” The rebuttal I received was a bite to the hand, an indentation that stayed with me for some time. So what’s my point? One, always keep work gloves around when having a baby. Two, try to remember that feelings can sometimes outweigh the facts.
Me, I love facts. They’re like a big red playground ball to me – I can have all manner of inquisitive fun with them, knowing that whether rain or shine they will never change. It relieves me to know that, if I make a decision based on facts, any argument that results is at a disadvantage. Why? Because I have the facts on my side! Or, at least that’s the way I thought it worked. To me, facts bring efficiency and order into everyday discussions, making them substantive and enlightening: “Oh, I didn’t know that” or “…and that’s why you are wrong, sir!” See? Cases closed, problems resolved, misunderstandings rectified.
The reality is that many find facts secondary to how they feel about something, and that, my friends can be big bucket of pain if you don’t recognize those situations. Try as I might, I cringe whenever I’m confronted with an argument that clearly feels like it rode in on a unicorn and have to defend the facts in order to resolve something. In fact, it sucks. It frustrates me to no end, that the facts are irrelevant sometimes, because my brain can’t compute how to assimilate, logically, the points being made. I hear this is a male trait; perhaps, but I’d like to think of it as a trait everyone has but some just conveniently refuse to use. So, if we’re ever in a discussion and are on opposing sides, and some point I (good Chris) clam up and look disinterested or (bad Chris) just walk away, now you’ll know why.