I have always been analytical and like my life wrapped up in a neat little package. As a child, I would reorganize classmates’ markers so that they were in rainbow order, exactly how they came when you first opened the box: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, brown, black. I still do this.
In college, I spent my years dissecting literature for hidden meanings and forming my own conclusions based on what was written on the pages in front of me. It’s no wonder that I work in the field of analysis where I am constantly scrutinizing data to present a clear picture of what is going on in each of the programs I manage. Focusing on the details is a part of what makes me me. I generally enjoy scrutinizing the minutiae of my crazy world.
Likewise, I have never taken life at face value. I question what people say and do, but even more so how they say and do things. I like to have my ducks in a row.
My mentor, The Fonz, thinks I’m crazy.
Maybe I should have prefaced that last statement with this: I over-analyze things a lot and I talk to people—Fonzie included—about my conclusions.
Rose and I have daily email conversations where I outline the latest event, giving her as much detail as I can remember, and we try to decipher what each and every little piece of the puzzle is without checking to see what the picture is on the box. We leap to the same conclusions and generally agree on what most things mean.
There’s a reason we’re friends.
The Fonz knows that the moment I begin a conversation with, “So here’s the thing…” I’m obsessing about something. Something almost always means a guy. He usually allows me about five minutes of telling him the facts and what I think they mean in the grand scheme of things before he inevitably and exasperatingly cuts me off and commands me to “Stop over thinking this!”
For example, I was recently telling him about Kermie, the guy I’m dating. We had another wonderful time together, but I’m still not sure I’m really that into him. I have seen a few red flags that make me concerned about pursuing something further and I’m unsure how to proceed. In my mental pro/con list, I’m not quite sure if the pros outnumber the cons and how am I supposed to carry on without someone’s feelings getting hurt? Hence, my reason to talk to the Fonz.
His response: “You’re stupid.”
Now, this might seem harsh to an outsider who doesn’t know the kind of brother-sister-like relationship that we have that involves excessive mocking and clever banter, but that was a perfectly acceptable response. He laid it out as such:
Fonz: You enjoy hanging out with this guy?
Me: Yes. We have a really good time.
Fonz: Then what’s the problem? You’re dating.
Me: Yes, but…
Fonz: No buts. The bottom line is, you are dating a guy that you have a good time with. You need to focus on that. You are so wrapped up in the little shit. He drives like a maniac, he doesn’t wait for you to get in your house before driving away, blah blah blah. None of that matters! You are having fun. That’s it. Focus on that.
And this is why he is my mentor.
The Fonz is not afraid of calling me out on my bullshit and forcing me to see the world at the 20,000 foot level. He calls it like he sees it and quite frankly, he’s usually—but not always—right.
I’ve always believed, and still do, that the little things in life matter. Therefore, I am obsessed with picking out these little details to show how great or not great something is. After all, the minutiae make up the big picture. However, people do not come in neat little packages. Sometimes focusing on the nitty-gritty makes you miss an unexpected greatness.
I’m sure Fonzie’s right, I just can’t bring myself to stop analyzing. Clearly.