Thursday, 24 April 2014

Overthinking things

I overthink things.

This evening I spent a solid couple of minutes standing frozen as I tried to figure out which of two near-identical cups of tea to give to Mum, and which to keep for myself.  In the end, I swapped the cups back and forth four times - and I only stopped because I gave up, rather than because I was happy with my decision.

The actual cups involved weren't this fancy
Here's how this particular thought process worked:

1.  One of these cups is slightly smaller than the other.  It'd be polite to give Mum the larger one.

2.  But the larger one is the cup I usually use.

3.  Mum chose these cups, therefore she chose the smaller cup for herself.

4.  Does Mum know the bigger cup is mine?  Or am I the only one keeping track of whose cup is whose?  I seem to be the only one in the family who remembers or cares which of the different-coloured-but-matching-shaped mugs are supposed to belong to who.

5.  But if Mum does remember, that means she wants the smaller cup.

6.  But if she doesn't remember, it's rude to take the larger one for myself.

7.  Why would someone want less tea?  If I hadn't lost* my gigantic Regretsy Weasel mug that holds something ridiculous like 700ml, I'd use it for every single cuppa ever.

8.  This is Mum, who seems to be one step from breatharianism - seriously, that woman could go mustering for a week on nothing more than a packet of Cruskits and an avocado - so maybe she does want less tea.

And it was at this point that I gave up, because I was infuriated with myself for turning something so simple into such a complex exercise and because Mum had appeared with the milk and I didn't want to look ridiculous in front of her by continuing to swap the cups around.

This is a thing with me.  I overthink things and analyse them to shreds, particularly things to do with fairness, politeness, justice, and imposing on other people.  I wonder if it's a rut I've dug for myself to compensate for social skills or common sense that don't always work as well as they should in real-time: I can't instinct my way out of this, so I'll logic my way out of it.  Except it doesn't - it just slows me down further, and sometimes I stall completely like I did this evening because I just didn't have enough information to logic with.

And for the record: yes, Mum did want the smaller cup.

* I did three big cross-country moves in three years, and the last one in particular was awful because the removalists were dicks.  About 90% everything I've ever owned has been lost, sold, misplaced, broken or given away.  Except, strangely, one plate that I still have even though I sold the dinner set it belongs to.