Monday, August 17, 2009

48 hours

Mariah and I have what we refer to as the ’48 hour rule’. Just as the name implies, for any substantial decision, house repair, kid crisis, vehicle issue, expenditure over about 50 dollars, we refer to the 48 hour--let’s-put-this-aside rule, and almost invariably our decision about whatever has arisen is better than an instant, gut-reaction one might have been. Some of the time the decision is identical; sometimes they’re very different, even polar opposite; sometimes, and this is perhaps the larger point, there’s no decision to make because the event, crisis or issue has simply dissipated or resolved itself. And invariably we’re glad we invoked this rule, and remain comfortable with the outcome.

Recently our daughter, newly married, announced that, for reasons irrelevant here, she and her new hubby were through, done, history. She was moving out, finished, didn’t want to talk about it. The way it was presented was, of course, a pretty transparent attempt to get a rise from us, and enlist our help against the scoundrel who do such a dastardly deed. Her vocabulary, volume and sense of indignity were palpable on the phone, reminiscent of some hyperbolic Hollywood vixen scorned and demeaned, bent on the most painful and irreversible mayhem on the lad, my new son-in-law.
The 48 hour rule? Instantly and absolutely. It worked very well when we decided on the spur of the moment to book our vacation to Paris instead of Key West. (The keys are magical). It worked ever so well when another daughter announced she would quit college over a “useless, asinine stats course I have to take and I’ll never use!” The graduation was delightful. It worked even when we decided to go ahead with the purchase of the Honda wagon, even with its 93,000 miles. At 130,000 it’s barely broken in.
The scrapping newlyweds? Love birds once again. How long did the little dustup last? You guessed it, about 48 hours.

It’s a useful tool to cool things off, allow, as doctors say, the tincture of time to do its magic, and to deal with what we have even today, too much information that makes us react too quickly, forcing decisions we likely would have made differently. The 48 hour rule: try it. But wait a couple of days.

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