Tuesday, July 19, 2005

The farmer and the cowman should be friends . . .

The people we are buying our next house from are a lovely couple. He sells books and she is an artist. By this I mean that she makes interesting objects that other people buy. But I also mean that she has The Eye.

You know what I mean. Some people have a knack for something. Part experience, part innate gift, The Eye lets them just look at something, figure out what's wrong, and fix it or make it a million times better. Whether it's computers, engines, haircuts, clothes, etc., these people make doing something (and doing it superbly well) look totally effortless. And it probably is for them.

But The Eye cannot be taught. It's like the tech tree in Homeworld: if you have ability you can make it better with practice. But if you don't have that starting instinct, no amount of work will raise you to Eyedom.

Case in point: my wife and me and home decorating. We watch no end of design shows on HGTV. "Divine Design" is great, plus we get to make fun of the way Canadians talk. "reDesign" is fun, and the . . . um . . . enthusiasm of the guy is interesting. "Design On A Dime" is one of our favorites, because it makes us believe we can do a really great job at redecorating with very little money, which is a total and complete lie. We cannot, but our neighbor can.

She has The Eye.

When we bought some new furniture recently, we cleared out our entire living room for it. I tried two different arrangements over the course of a couple of weeks. I looked up stuff on the Internet (coughNERDcough) and watched countless hours of HGTV. Nothing worked. Our neighbor walked in and had it completely reset in two hours. Some things she moved a few inches, some things moved across the room. But it felt completely different.

So we asked her to look at other rooms and make suggestions. And she did. And she seemed to be having fun doing it, as well, whereas my wife and I struggled and fought whenever we tried to arrange things.

As a professional nerd, I get paid to work with computers. Sometimes I hear other nerds complaining about having to help out someone else with their computer. But I don't buy it for a minute. They love it. I love it. I enjoy trying to find out what's wrong with someone's computer and to get it working again. Nothing bothers me more than not fixing it.

My neighbor is the same way. She's artsy and she loves it. It's why she does what she does. When we asked her to help us out, her face brightened.

Here's the thing. If your circle of friends includes nothing but nerds, your computers will run well but you and your house will look awful. If your circle of friends includes nothing but artsy folk, everything will look great, but if something goes wrong with your computer or your car, you'll all be standing around it, poking and screeching like those guys at the beginning of 2001.

Just a thought.

Territory folks should stick together,
Territory folks should all be pals.
Cowboys dance with farmer's daughters,
Farmers dance with the ranchers' gals.


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