I am not a fan of puzzles. And understand when I say puzzles I’m talking about jigsaw puzzles. There is something about them. I just don’t find them relaxing. There isn’t anything that makes me happy about jigsaw puzzles. It could be that I associate them with my ex. He was obsessed with puzzles. He had a mat that rolled up, glue, and frames. Jigsaw puzzles do not bring happy, warm feelings for me.
At the call center where I work, we have internet access. It’s not always back to back calls. Some of my coworkers have found online jigsaw puzzles to fill the time in between calls. I love the looks on their faces when they actually finish the puzzles. They have competitions among each other to beat their times. It’s nice to see people making the best of a situation. In a customer service job, we need all the morale boosters we can get. It’s not easy being a punching bag and having people verbally vomit negativity on you.
Maybe not like jigsaw puzzles is part of a character flaw for me. Maybe it’s part of me not being able to see the bigger picture with a lot of details in front of my face. I am a libra, after all. If you give me to many options, I get flustered and confused. Rational thinking goes right out the door.
Maybe I just don’t have the patience to deal with a hundred, two hundred, three hundred or more little tiny pieces to make a picture. And I’m that person who always winds up losing one or two pieces. So, for all my hard work getting the thing together I’m never finished.
There’s some really pretty ones out there. Gorgeous pictures that are turned into jigsaw puzzles. I do love the Thomas Kinkade Disney ones.
I just don’t have the time, patience, or space to be able to keep something like that out. Especially with my son who can be kind of a douche some days. I mean that with all the love that’s behind it. We’ve tried several times to play board games or card games. He just walks over and either wipes the whole table clear or flips the table over. I love him, I do. But, there’s a reason we call him the T. Rex. He destroys everything. Could you imagine having a jigsaw puzzle out? It already looks like a Toys R Us crack den exploded in my living room. Puzzle pieces would just make it even worse.
My son’s not the only one who would destroy a puzzle if I had it out. I love my cat but, I’m pretty sure she’s trying to kill me. I find it funny as I’m writing this, she’s curled up with me like she actually loves me. If I stop petting her, she scratches or bites my hand. Much in the style of a cat, if it’s out on a flat surface, she’s going to knock it off. A puzzle would not be out of the picture for her. It would not be beyond her means. It’s kind of weird, now that I think of it, with my cat. She hurts me in the name of love. She destroys personal items of mine. I’m in an abusive relationship with my cat. She doesn’t have a job. I keep her warm and fed. I scoop her poop. The most she does is bat a mouse around. Sometimes. Most of the time she doesn’t even kill them. She just tosses them around until they give up. Why do I even have a cat? As I wrote that, she looked at me as if to say, “Duh. Look at me. I’m cute.” She’s not wrong.
I’ve tried crossword puzzles. I’ve got a thing for words and the meanings of words. Crossword puzzles are an example of why I have Google and an old school dictionary. Any time I’m feeling confident in my word prowess all I have to do is pull out a crossword puzzle. That knocks my hubris down a few notches and keeps me humility in check.
Sudoku is proof math is evil. It’s a great example of why I don’t like math. Patterns I get. But the numbers mess me up a little bit. The only reason I ever completed a sudoku puzzle is because there was a “need a hint” button.
The puzzles I gravitate towards are less of actual puzzles and more like real life situations. I’m a big fan of watching the ID Discovery Channel. It worries my family a little bit. Frankly, it worries me a little bit, too. I’m not obsessed with serial killers and murderers. I just want to know why they do the things they do. What caused them to do those things? I look for the patterns in human behavior. Human puzzles.
Maybe that’s why I work where I do now. I work in customer service. You may not think of that as a puzzle but it is. Sometimes, you’re only given a certain amount of information from the person calling in. You have to try to figure out what the caller is talking about and how to fix the problem. Sometimes, the callers are crystal clear about why they’re calling in. The main problem at that point is the information you have available to you is not as detailed as you need itto be. Part of my job is figuring out how we got this number, how did we get this amount, or why is it like this. Then the challenge is explaining it back to the people who are calling in. So it is very much like a puzzle.
Writing a book is like a puzzle, too. You start with idea. For a lot of us writerly folk, you’ve got an idea of who your people are and what happens to them in the end. It’s your job to fill in the middle. From what I’ve seen of my friends who do the jigsaw puzzles, they do the frame first and then they fill the insides up. That’s a lot like being a writer. You have your framework: Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back. Then you have to figure how does he get the girl, how does he lose the girl, and how does he get her back.
I’ve got a puzzle going on with my cat. She keeps looking at the ceiling. She’s tracking something. Now is the fun time when I get to play bug, rodent, or ghost. If you didnt know I used to go ghost hunting several years back with my husband. That’s actually how I met my husband. Ghost hunting is also a puzzle. You’re being given certain information and trying to discern what’s happening. Not every time my cat looks at a wall is it going to be a ghost. And I see that in lack of puzzle solving skills in a lot of these ghost hunting shows. The ones who fid it best were the TAPS group with Jay and Grant. And I believe that’s what made them so popular and successful. They looked for the cause if the sounds and shadows. They didn’t automatically jump to the conclusion a ghost was causing the issues. Now, there’s a certain group of gentlemen who are very popular. Every time they turn around, it’s a demon. And, if you ghost hunt, you may not agree with this statement but this is my book. Write your own with your own theories on ghost hunting. Orbs are not spirits. Orbs are not indicative of a haunting. Orbs, when they are not dust, weather, or bugs, are simply collections of energy. So, sometimes when the cat is looking at the ceiling it’s not a ghost. Ninety nine percent of the time it’s not a ghost. It’s not unusual for us to have mice right now. Especially with it being 12 degrees outside. It could be a bug. I don’t know; I can’t see through the walls. And neither can she. She can just hear things way better than I can. Ghost hunting is very much a puzzle. You have to put together history. You get to find out what’s more passed down legends than actual fact. You have to check out the house to make sure that sound isn’t pipes rattling. You need to make sure that the footsteps everyone is hearing isn’t the floor boards creaking. Not every time that the cat freaks out is it related to a ghost.
One of my favorite stories involves my bestie, Yoda. We had just watched “The Exorcist” for the first time at our collective best friend’s house. Banana’s house was dark and creepy in the middle of the day with the lights on. We decided to watch this movie in the middle of the night when I got out of work. This was a bad choice. We were so freaked out by this movie we actually walked up the stairs together to use the bathroom. All together. We didn’t want anyone to be alone. It was about one thirty at night when the movie finished. We lived a block apart from each other. So we left Banana’s house. I droped Yoday off at her house which was the midpoint to my house from Banana’s. I got into my house. I got into my bed. I was trying to calm down because that movie terrified us. At two in the morning, a mortal sin occurred. My phone rang. I grabbed the phone quickly before my parents take a spaz attack. It was Yoda. She crying on the phone and needed me to come down to her house. I had to sneak out of my house and into her’s. She showed me how, every time she got into her bed, the light on her nightstand went out. When she got out of the best, the light would turn back on. This happened five times. I watched her getting in the bed and the light turning off. I watched her get out of the bed and the light turned on. I noticed whrn she got into the bed, the bed frame shifted towards the wall. The same wall the light was plugged in to. As the bed shifted, it hit the plug and the outlet causing the light plug to come out of the wall a little bit. This caused the light to turn off. I told her what I told her what I was seeing. I showed her how it worked. She moved her lamp and it didn’t happen again. That’s still one of our favorite stories to tell when we’re trying to be rational about things.
I think that’s part of the problem with a lot of people. Puzzles are problem solving. They require a little bit of common sense. They require a little bit of thought, time, and patience. The world is a little short on common sense these days. And we’re a little short on problem solvers. We have many people who talk about solving problems; it seems they’re more interested in causing problems for other people to solve. I know Devo says, “When a problem comes along, you must whip it.” I’m more of the, “OK. So now, what are we going to do?” I like to think you’ve got two choices: you can sit, cry, and whine about something or you can do something about it. I’m okay if crying and whining about it happens, but then you have to do something about it. Just crying and whining about something is not going to solve the problem. It’s not going to solve the puzzle.
So even though jigsaw puzzles are not my particular favorite brand of puzzles I guess I do like puzzles. I like solving problems. I like putting the pieces together and getting the whole picture.
Before I started working on this book, I was working on another one. I was having a little trouble with it. Maybe that’ll be my puzzle today. I will put together the puzzle of a book. I will put all the pieces together, and I will do the best I can to make a cohesive story. I may just have a framework now but, with a little work I will have the whole story. I will work on the puzzle of a book.
Today, I will finish a puzzle.
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