The Dude gets his license in a few weeks, and despite assertions to the contrary, we are considering getting another car. The justification is that my paragliding adventurist hubby needs a car with 4-wheel drive to get to launch and landing locations. The Prius doesn’t off-road well. Nonetheless, if we purchased said car, the Dude would have one at his disposal from time to time, which makes him very happy.
My husband is the analytical sort. He keeps a database of his run times, our water usage, and the amount of time it takes Dominion to restore power after an outage. For him, buying a used car is like lining up at a smorgasbord. He has already amassed a database of price data, while detailing the make, the model, the year, the mileage, features and interior/exterior color of each car for sale in his target range. We aren’t even looking at buying until Spring, but at dinner, he asked for my help. He’d like me to build a model to predict asking price so he can determine what a fair offer might be for some future hypothetical vehicle.
And I said, “Sure. I can do that.”
What I was really thinking was “What the F&#%?” I don’t do the statistician thing anymore. I hopped off that particular train a few years ago. He knows that. He was there. We threw a party to celebrate my return to sanity. I am not looking to get back on.
But instead of saying what I was thinking, I started discussing the difficulty of mixing nominal, ordinal and ratio data in multiple regression models and the amount of error we could expect to see, and the entire time, a tortured soul in the back of my head screamed “Run Jeannine, Run!”
So I stopped talking, looked at my husband and told him, “I would rather walk in front of a bus than do this.”
He wasn’t pleased. Too bad. What’s he going to do, fire me? He’s at a table eating the dinner THAT I COOKED.
Smart man that he is, he said he’d do it himself. I smiled and chirped, “Great! That’s settled. Let’s have dessert!”
How often have I agreed to do something I didn’t really want to do? Too many times to count. I’m not suggesting I refuse to do anything less than convenient, but if I could refuse to do those tasks I find truly repugnant, perhaps I might do some others more joyfully. One can buy a car without a regression model. People do it every day. My son refuses to do most everything I ask him to do and I still love him to pieces.
I want to be a kind and giving person. I also want to be a sane, not-ready-to-walk-in-front-of-a-bus person. So before saying “Sure, I can do that.” I will stop and ask myself if that’s really true, so if I decide to say it anyway, I can do it with a smile, and really mean it. Otherwise, I will say “no” and let the bus pass me by.
What thought will you throw out this week?
Words by J. B. Everett
Photograph “Bus in de schemering” by Gerard Stolk © 2012 Creative Commons