Perception becomes reality, but that doesn’t mean it is an accurate reflection of the facts. Case in point, the General is making me a crazy person. Frankly, I hate it when I allow someone to have that kind of control over me. I should know better. I do know better. So why do I sometimes allow her or anyone else to have the upper hand?
She can be so dogmatic at times. Yesterday’s point of contention had to do with the sprinkler system in the yard. Several days ago she asked: “Why don’t you turn off the sprinkler system?” She also added that it had been raining. I responded that the sprinkler system has a rain sensor and that if it is raining, it doesn’t work. Your average layperson would have accepted that as a valid and accurate answer to her question.
Did I mention the General is above average? She didn’t care why the sprinkler system is activated even though she asked the question. She wanted it turned off! You can only imagine the reasons. She painstakingly shared all of them with me at the time she asked the question: (1) It has been raining. (2) The lawn doesn’t need to be watered during the winter. (3) We are wasting water and electricity. Correction: It was not: “We are wasting…”, it was “I was wasting water and electricity”.
I try to be accommodating. Truthfully, it wasn’t a big deal and it was absolutely not an inconvenience for me to walk out into the garage and turn the water sprinkler system off. However, I did have the thought that she too has the skill set to turn the control button to off. The General is smart. I didn’t have to share that with her. She’s already aware of her skill set. She was simply outsourcing the task to the maintenance man that works fifty-one miles away, is gone from our home ten hours a day and lives at our house when he’s not out of town.
So a couple of days later, the General pointed out that the sprinkler system was still on. How could that be? I had turned it off. I clearly remembered that I had turned it off. I would have to be off my rocker not to follow up on the General’s request (articulated or subtly indicated). I went back out to the garage to look. You could have knocked me over with a feather. The sprinkler system had not been turned off (faulty memory on my part). Eating crow, I acknowledged the error of my ways and told her the sprinkler had been turned on, but that it was now off. Actually, what really previously happened was that I opened the cover to the system and saw “OFF” reflected in the small window reflecting current status. I failed to notice that “RUN” was also selected. Consequently, when the designated times previously selected rolled around, the system would be activated.
It was almost with a tone of self-righteous indignation that she announced yesterday morning that the sprinkler system was still on. I don’t have “Stupid” calligraphically tattooed over each eyebrow with an explanation mark in the middle of my forehead. God as my witness, the sprinkler system was turned off. Even without my glasses, I could read the “off” position on the sprinkler system.
Walking into the kitchen, the General stood upright and stoically announced that both the front porch and sidewalk were covered with water. Whether she verbally added: “The water sprinkler system is not turned off” or she simply said it with her body language, it didn’t matter. Her perception was flawed, but would I ever convince her?
She had been loading the dishwasher, but I suggested she come look with me. Walking with me toward the front door, we could both see that the porch and sidewalk was wet. I threw a question loaded with, what I’m sure she processed as my “self-righteous indignation” in her direction: “So, did you actually see water spraying from any of the sprinkler system zones in the yard? She had not, but she added again that the porch and sidewalk were covered with water. Standing next to her, and pointing to the granite driveway in front of the house, I said: “Look way out there. The road appears to be wet as well.”
I am sure my smile looked like a smirk, but early yesterday morning when I went outside to the Jacuzzi, I noticed the Jacuzzi cover and the back patio were also covered with water. In fact, I remembered sitting in the hot tub with the misting rain hitting me in the face. The sprinkler system that had not been turned off was the one in the sky, not the one controlled by the control box inside our garage. The General’s perception of reality was flawed.
Truthfully, she gets it right more often than I do. Could it be that God placed me in her life to teach her patience? Who knows? If that’s my purpose, she must be a slow learner because I’ve been around for a very long time. The thing that puzzles me is her unique skill and ability to never get her feathers ruffled. My response that the source of water was from the rain rather than the sprinkler system didn’t make her a “crazy person”. In fact, I’d say the impact it carried was minimal. She stoically announces to me that the water sprinkler is still on when I know it isn’t and I get out of sorts. I point out the error of her flawed perception and it is like water running off a duck’s back. There was absolutely no reaction.
At any rate, I’m glad the “off” switch is working on the sprinkler system. My next major hurdle is getting the water pipes to outdoor faucets covered and wrapped before it becomes bitterly cold. Of course, this year, like every other, I will procrastinate until I am wrapping pipes with very cold fingers. I always consistently manage to get them wrapped before I head for the ski slopes. The very last thing that I need is for there to be a broken waterline while I’m away having fun.
Did I mention it is currently 23 degrees outside? As soon as I get this blog posted, I’m headed to the hot tub.
All My Best!