There are two kinds of people. (Reminding me of my cousin Herschel’s, “There are two kinds of bald people – those with hair and those without.”)
In this case, the “two kinds of people” are those who prefer flying the plane themselves, and those who willingly cede the piloting duties to others. Hopefully, professional others.
“I’m actually in ‘Maintenance’ but there was nobody in the cockpit so I thought I’d give it a shot.”
Nobody wants them.
But I do want the experienced and competent “Them.” To pilot the airline, and, in the context of the tale I began yesterday, to “navigate” my car to unknown destinations.
I thoroughly trust those electronic (?) services. If my car’s “GPS System” said,
“Turn right and proceed into the river.”
I would perhaps hesitate, I would definitely roll up the windows, but lacking other viable alternatives… who knows?
But if I eschewed the “Route Guidance” system, it’s, like,
My available options being “the river”, and “lost.”
On the other hand, some people, are unable under uncomfortable under any circumstance meekly handing over the reins. Serious operations? It’s like,
“Could you anesthetize me except for one eye?”
Despite their demonstrable limitations in said arena, they adamantly refuse to surrender control.
These are the people who, despite “Route Guidance System” direction, regularly dismiss its accumulated advice. Because they believe that – or actually do – know better. And they’ll be damned if they’ll blindly follow a geo-locational machine. (An engineer in the family taught me “geo-locational.”)
The question is – at least the one that occurred to me to pursue – is how the “Route Guidance System” representative feels about this insulting predicament? And with that, we
INT. PSYCHOTHERAPIST’S OFFICE – DAY
A “STANDARD ISSUE” PSYCHOTHERAPIST – this is not about them – USHERS IN A FEMALE PATIENT INTO THE ROOM.
THERAPIST: “Come on in.”
THE VISIBLY TIGHTLY WOUND PATIENT ENTERS, HEADING TOWARDS THE OFFERED, DESIGNATED SEAT.
ROUTE GUIDANCE REPRESENTATIVE: “MUMBLING TO HERSELF) “In ten steps, turn right. (AFTER PROCEEDING NINE STEPS) ‘Turn right. Boop-Boop.” (SHE JUDICIOUSLY TURNS RIGHT) You have now arrived at your destination.”
THE PATIENT THEN SITS, FOLLOWED POLITELY BY THE THERAPIST.
ROUTE GUIDANCE REPRESENTATIVE: “Sorry, ‘Occupational Hazard.’ I can’t seem to turn it off. Scared off a lot of first dates. But that’s not why I’m here.”
“Well… (TAKING A DEEP, DELAYING BREATH)…”
“It’s okay. You’re amongst friends.”
SHE SWALLOWS HARD, CLEARING THE DECKS FOR A PERSONAL CONFESSION.
“They won’t listen!”
“Who won’t listen?”
“The people who use ‘Route Guidance.’ I give them specific directions, and they insist on going their own way!”
“All of them?”
“No. A lot of them go where I tell them, arriving comfortably at their destinations. It’s those others – those insolent ‘Know-it-alls!”
“Who don’t arrive comfortably at their destinations?”
(INDIGNANTLY) “I hope not! (THEN, REALIZING) What a terrible thing to say! Which would probably have taken months or even years to openly acknowledge. Unfortunately, our Mr. Pomerantz has limited time and we have to hurry things along.”
“When the people ignore your directions…”
“… My assiduously compiled directions…”
“… your assiduously compiled directions… how does that make you feel?”
“I already answered that, didn’t I?”
“Yes, but as a stereotypical psychologist, I am required to include that question.”
“Well, then as a stereotypical patient, I shall dutifully respond.
“They turn me on – they miss the first direction. Fine. I get them back on track with three consecutive ‘Rights’ – they ignore the three consecutive ‘Rights.’ I adjust, ‘recalculating’ an alternate route – they disregard that alternate route. It’s like ‘What, am I talking to myself?’ I mean, how would you feel, providing helpful advice and they completely reject it?”
“That is pretty much the definition of my job.”
“Don’t you hate it?”
“In our business, it’s a process. Hopefully, in time, they will eventually relax and consider my suggestions.”
“And what if they don’t?”
“Then they wasted their time in therapy.”
“Exactly! You don’t want therapy – don’t come to therapy. You don’t want ‘Route Guidance’ – listen to the radio. There are those wonderful ‘Ted’ Talks.’ Maybe there’ll be one on their inability to take advice.”
“‘People who won’t listen to you.’ Does that remind you of anyone, past or present?”
‘Another stereotypical question?”
“Sometimes they work.”
“The answer is ‘No.’ I am, by nature, an authoritative personality. That’s how I got this job in the first place. I scored in the 93rd percentile on ‘Trustworthy Voice Transmission.’ You know, they assign us ‘Success Ratings’. Like Uber. When they determined that I was, perhaps, too authoritative – I tested ‘Borderline Teutonic’ – I was required to visit a Voice Coach, where I learned an upscale English accent, tempering ‘Authoritative’ with ‘Elegant Refinement.’ And you know what? Those idiots still wouldn’t listen!”
“Did you ever think, ‘Maybe it’s not me, it’s them.”
“The ‘Reverse Costanza’ approach? Of course, it’s them! And it utterly infuriates me! No respect! No surrendering to authority! No acknowledging that they don’t know everything and that there is no shame in soliciting advice!”
“Care for a suggestion?”
“If it’s a good one. Otherwise, forget it. I will figure this out for myself.”
“Well. That sounds familiar.”
“What do you mean?’
“It sounds to me like you’re ‘Them.’”
A LADEN “MOMENT OF INSIGHT”, FOLLOWED BY YEARS OF FURTHER TREATMENT, AND AN ENORMOUS BILL.