I Have No Idea…

I used to have a lot more answers than I have now. It’s like that Bob Dylan song, “I was so much older than I’m younger than that now.” Or maybe it’s because NOW I know there is so much more to know than I will ever know even to ask questions about.

Today is the open house for the little art show at the museum, and I’m not going. I don’t want Covid again. That was — and continues to be — a real drag. I mean, just now, I put a rawhide stir stick into my coffee for Bear and then I put in another one as if only seconds before I hadn’t already done that. Every day I do what I can as therapy and healing for that and we’re getting somewhere, but if I’m tired, preoccupied, or emotional, all bets are off.

I remind me of my stepson when he was a little guy getting ready for school. It took him forever to put on two socks. He’d put on a sock, get distracted by something, study whatever had captured his attention then look for the sock he’d already put on. It drove his stepdad crazy, especially when Ben put the second sock on the same foot as the first sock.

We ask “Why?” a lot of times when it doesn’t really matter. I do and then I have to step back and think, “What do I really need to know here? Is it ‘why?’ or something else?” We look for motives often when we need to look for solutions, especially when something seems completely irrational.

A question can be very interesting but the answer totally anti-climactic. When I was in my 40s I looked much, much younger. It’s a genetic blessing from someone — I think my paternal grandma. My students would get very curious about how old I was, but thought it was rude to ask. The question would burn with some of them and I always said, “I’ll tell you, but the answer won’t be that interesting to you. Are you sure you want to know?”

“Yes! Yes! Yes!”

I was right about that. The answer WASN’T very interesting, maybe, even, disappointing. “41.” “Oh.”

Other questions? Most recently the question someone didn’t even know to ask turned out to have a fascinating answer and that was Ultramarine Blue from Lapis Lazuli. A friend bought a painting for her mom and now her boyfriend doesn’t think they should give it away because of the ultramarine blue. I know he would get VERY interested in the history of that color, but so far no one has asked and while I CAN pontificate with the best of them especially about paint, I’m waiting until I’m asked.

I really loved teaching Critical Thinking, which I did for more than 20 years. I learned a LOT from that and maybe my students did, too (don’t know). Critical Thinking is basically “how to ask questions” and “what questions to ask.” One of the benefits of that was learning that there are just some questions that will always evade a clear answer. Human behavior falls — for me — in that category. Why? You might well ask. 😉

11 thoughts on “I Have No Idea…

  1. That was one of Dylan’s best lines. As to “why?”, I think that is one of the worst questions unless reframed from “for what reason?” to “for what purpose?” Reasons are often about as useful as opinions. 😉

  2. I’m so glad you didn’t attend the art show; I didn’t want you to get sick again! I appreciate your honesty about your struggles with long Covid. Why risk piling on? I am glad, though, your paintings are being enjoyed by others! Congrats!

    I suppose one good thing about law school was learning critical thinking: ask, probe, be skeptical, do research, assume nothing, learn and master a topic until you can answer all reasonably-anticipated questions (become a mini-expert), etc. Great life skills. One friend, a criminal defense attorney, had a rule for his client interactions: “I believe 1% of what they say and make them prove the other 99%.” A good formula for many situations but one that’s lost on the folks who believe most anything they read (especially if it confirms their existing biases), no matter how fantastical and regardless of source.

    • I went to the show but missed the “rush.” I didn’t stay long. I’m glad I went because I met a really nice dog and got $10 from selling a pack of notecards. I just felt wrong about not showing up at all.

      I agree with you about law school training. My main job as a paralegal in that big law firm in Denver was research. I liked being the library of our law firm with the questions my bosses needed answered. I saw what was needed for them to build a case — facts. It was great and I think influenced me more than I was aware of.

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