February 8, 2018

Supermarket/Snorkel: How to Make Sense of Others’ (Incomprehensible) Habits

Ever since he’s known me, my husband has been baffled by my ability to lose all sense of time– and any pretense of focus– the minute I enter a grocery store.

Regardless of the urgency of the situation, the specificity of the items for which we came in, or the familiarity of the surroundings, entering a supermarket bewitches me: every product is fascinating; every label worthy of Talmudic consideration.

And no matter how I attempted explaining it to him, the mystery remained complete.

Recently, however, he was snorkeling on our vacation and—upon returning to dry land– began explaining to me the timelessness he feels once he dons a mask and fins.

“I can spend hours floating in a 30 foot area!” he declaimed. “I will pick up every single rock to see what’s underneath it!”

Bingo.

“THAT,” I said, “is how I feel in a supermarket.”

Suddenly, my supermarket regime was—if not understandable—at least explicable to him.

Why do I bring this up with you? Because it’s possible your colleagues (or loved ones) have habits that drive you crazy—habits that, no matter how you attempt to understand them, leave you confounded.

If this is the case, my suggestion—rather than continuing to apply logic to the situation—is for you to consider an inexplicable habit of your own.

Is there a mindset, a pattern, a purpose it serves for you that their kooky habit serves for them?

For us, identifying this crossover has been incredibly helpful. These days all I have to say to my husband (as I enter anything from Costco to the corner bodega) is, “Remember, I’m snorkeling.”

P.S.  Yes, I did get a few odd looks in the supermarket while taking these pictures—but not as many as you would think!

If you enjoyed this post you might also like: “How Can We?” vs. “Can We?” An Invitation to Collaboration.

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