Friday, August 23, 2013

Degrees of Separation

An instructor once told us that a classic conflict source was expectations mismatch between parties. She gave us marital and corporate examples. Her point was that these mismatches are solvable with the right appreciation and tools. They are not irreconcilable.

Arizona desert trip planning guides we read last year made the same point. Frictions surface in family trips precisely at the time people should be in their most fun and easy going moods. Mismatched expectations, nothing deeper than that. And once identified we can fix it by aligning expectations, I guess.

To align expectations in our trip we can divide the time to visit each other's friends, we can divide meal preferences. If we can split atoms what could possibly get in the way? 

It is August in Tel Aviv, hot as always, and air conditioners have gotten very good indeed.

But temperature remains indivisible. Setting the thermostat is an unsolvable mismatch in expectations. This time we have technology to blame. We went from suffering together to fighting over who suffers the other's temperature preferences.

I found the reason, its the thermostat stupid. Next comes an academic paper plotting divorce rate vs. temperature preference differential. It is titled degrees of separation.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Poor Man Rejoice

Finding anything previously misplaced around the house always follows this script:

- Me: "When does a poor man rejoice?"
A rare case where the original expression "Cuando se alegra un pobre?" sounds better and more compact in Spanish than in English.
- Her: "Oh shut up you are not poor.

The expected answer, from my father, is: "When he finds what he lost"

"A poor man rejoices when he reclaims what he lost" is the best approximation. Though it is not really joy, and what I reclaimed was not exactly lost.

It feels more like a boxer winning a fight. In many ways.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Most Interesting Man in the World

He has received acceptance letters from all Ivy League schools... that he has not applied to...
He was awarded a full scholarship... just for posing in their college
He graduated Summa Cum Laude... from elementary school..
Teachers ask him for letters of recommendation...
He was only once a point short of a perfect exam score... only because he was given the wrong test form...
A fellow student once received an approving nod from him... and ended up listing it on his resume...
Schools ask him for merit-based financial aid...
Universities send him essays on why they are a good fit for him...
He is... The Most Interesting Applicant In The World.

'I don't usually send out applications, but when I do, I send them to BU.'

That was Ben's essay for Boston University where the Most Interesting Man In The World really studied. 

In my day it barely required having a pulse, but today college admission is a highly choreographed game refereed by arbitrary characters behind a desk. Applicants go to the far ends of the planet for community work credentials. My spleen says that if all submissions were true there would be more applicants volunteering in Asian orphanages than orphans in Asia. Artifacts of a game they make you play.

Game over, now colleges fight for Ben while we sip a Dos Equis. Stay thirsty my friends...