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Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away, I was a student. When I started eighth grade, I was placed in an advanced math class, Algebra I. My brilliance, as you can see, was noticed early.

By the tenth grade, I was in Algebra II, and struggling. I just could not get the equations any longer. Truthfully, I had struggled through Geometry in the ninth grade as well. I decided to opt out of Trig and Analytical Geometry. I will never forget that I had to “not fail” the final in order to get a B– in the class. I got a D.

Several years later I actually bought a work book and tried to systematically learn the darn stuff. I failed again. This, I have to tell you, was a major blow to my ego. It was not until years later that I read that there are two ways to understand math, and typically only one way is taught in most of our schools. I was one of those who needed the “other” method.

Similarly, I am told that some people are incapable of “seeing” optical illusions:

I’m told that depending on how easily you can decipher this, you have either a weak or strong mind, whatever that means.

All this adds up to only one thing: brains are not all wired the same. Now I don’t know if we are all unique, or if there are some basic systems that most people fall into.

No truer proof of that is the Contrarian and myself. This came to the fore but again today.

We got a letter from the State, telling us that their data base failed to show that we had insurance on one of our cars. Now this is patently in error, since you can’t get a registration, license, plates or title without such proof. The letter gave instructions on what to do, and then who had to do what. Basically it was comparing the actual VIN with the title, with the letter, with the insurance card. Depending on what matched or didn’t, would determine the next step.

To make a long story short, all numbers agreed so the next step was to call the insurance agent and have them resubmit the information to the appropriate data base collector.

The issue for the Contrarian and I came after.

“You know, I really had a hard time finding all the information,” he sighed.

“Why is that?” I muttered.

“Well, you had a folder entitled car insurance, but the title wasn’t there. I couldn’t find any folder entitled ‘car’ and then found a folder entitled ‘Dodge’ and one entitled ‘Subaru’. I had to find all three to make sure I had the right stuff.”

“Well, yes, I see your trouble. Just rewrite the folders in any way that works for you,” I proffered, walking from the room.

You see, it makes perfect sense to me. There are less than twenty folders in our file cabinet. It takes less than 30 seconds to run through them. I keep the titles separate because it’s easier than reading down to find out which car is which. Perhaps it would be easier to put the insurance for each in their “car” folder, but I didn’t anticipate any problem like this.

This situation is not unique. If we have a computer problem, we both approach it from vastly different places. In fact, any thing we do is approached from different angles. I open a box and reach for the instructions, methodically lay out all the pieces, remove all the boxing material, and then begin. He throws packing material hither and yon, picks up pieces he identifies as fitting together, and starts assembling until he runs into a problem.

We do not play well together. In a sandbox, we would have beaned each other over the head with the shovel and the pail. If you ran into us in a moment of joined effort, you would think we hated each other. Usually somebody is forced to retreat to cool down during any enterprise.

We do not teach each other well. I’m busy telling him that it would have been more useful to lead with this fact rather than that one. He looks at me as if I were a moron and simply repeats the same sentence again and again as if a rhesus monkey could understand.

I feel stupid. But I know I’m not. He’s a DOS and I’m an Apple. It’s just that simple.