In my mind, there are two kinds of people in the world. Creatives and linears. B. and I are an example of how, when a creative and a linear fall in love, get married, and build their lives together, things get very … shall we say … interesting.
As a creative (moi), I tend not to do things the exact same way each time. One day, I may put my keys in the tray purchased for that very purpose. The next day, maybe on the chair next to the tray. The day after that, on the bathroom vanity. And, of course, there’s always the keys left in the door.
As a linear, B. does things almost the exact same way each time. His keys always land in the tray, along with his claim ticket for the dry cleaners, his wallet, and his roll of mints. Every. Single. Time.
Problem? Not really. Except that when I can’t find my keys, I need to involve him in the search. He always shakes his head when he finds the preposterous place I have left them (laundry basket, anyone?) and, while he totally gets and supports my creative temperament, is still amazed that I don’t put them back in the same place each time — like he does.
Why don’t I? Because my brain is thinking of the next story I want to write, or what color I might paint the living room (at the spur of the moment), or whether brownies or blondies taste better (hey, I know — I’ll bake both right now! No flour? No problem. I’ll go to the store. Maybe I can find a bunch of tulips while I’m there …).
While B. creates mental compartments and time slots for his projects, I am mostly compartment-less, with one project, one idea, one “what if?” running into the next. I always accomplish what I set out to, but my path is a bit more circuitous because I stop to, say, spill all 64 Crayola colors out of the box so that I can reorganize them by shade. (I’ve even been known to set them up in their tiered box as if they were a choir, with the pinks as sopranos, the greens as tenors, etc.)
Not to say that B.’s linear-ness isn’t a positive. No one plans a vacation, sets up an adventure, or dreams up the most fun things to do like he can. It’s just that he does it at a time when he’s not doing something else. He is focused. He sees opportunities and considers consequences. To quote Butch (Paul Newman) Cassidy, “I got vision and the rest of the world wears bifocals.” Me? I wear rose-colored glasses (sometimes just the frames).
We’re sort of like Lucy and Ricky — I tend to lead with my heart, he tends to lead with his brain. I’m a little “Hey, why don’t I pretend to be Harpo Marx and fool everyone?” and he’s more “Okay, but … you know that if Harpo finds out, you’re going to have to keep up the pretense, right? Let’s figure out how you’re going to do that.” I love a man who finds solutions.
Of course, neither of us is one hundred percent. Creative me is also a whiz at Jeopardy, does the NY Times Sunday crossword in ink (okay, purple ink), and graduated third in her high school class. Linear, lawyer / professor B. is also a soft-hearted romantic who always remembers the day we met, wants to buy me a piano one day, and dreams at night that he’s doing espionage with Tom Cruise or taking on space aliens with Harrison Ford or scoring three-pointers with Kobe. (My dreams don’t have nearly that blockbuster element. Neuroses, yes; big movie moments, no.)
I’m like Winnie the Pooh, stretching farther and farther into the honey jar until it’s stuck on my nose. And, thankfully, B. finds a way to get me out of it. Every. Single. Time. (He also manages to get me out of my sweatshirt when I’ve tangled myself up and can’t find the opening. I’m not making this up.)
Who cares if B.’s path from A to B is linear and mine is loopy? What’s important is that we’re taking this trip together.
Once I find my keys.
ⓒ 2015 Claudia Grossman