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Suburban Island

Half Full
Saturday, Mar. 08, 2003, 1:34 p.m.

Question: Half empty or half full?

What I Learned: Ask for a coffee but remember to smell the flowers along the way.

If you take two people, and one believes that the glass is always half full and one believes that the glass is always half empty and you put them together - how much water is really in that glass? It seems to me that it might be a whole glass because, after all, each person has a half glass and 1/2 and 1/2 should equal that big glass full of water. Simple math - right?

I, the optimist with the half full glass, am starting to think that there's math and there's math and then there's people messing with your equation.

For instance, what happens if the half-full glass person doesn't really want to pour their water into the other glass to make the full glass a reality? What if they spill some of it while they are pouring? What if they only pour in a little and then stop? What if they pour it somewhere else - watering their flower garden, handing their glass over to a thirsty stranger, or casual acquaintance, or friendly store clerk - because it's easier somehow to do that then pour the water into the half-full glass standing by? What if they refuse to use their water to make the 1/2 and 1/2 equals 1 equation work - just leaving it there in their own glass and complaining about how their glass is always so empty? Can they make it emptier by focusing on its emptiness? If you kind of like an empty glass would that be more fun that working on the full glass proposition? Can the 1/2 full glass get fuller just by building on all that positive water floating around in their glass? What if the person with the 1/2 full glass keeps moving their glass around? What if they don't really want to mix the 1/2 empty kind of water with the 1/2 full kind of water? What if they just set their glasses next to each other - 1/2 full and 1/2 empty - and tried to make the best of it?

What if the person with the half-full glass wants to kick some half-empty glass ass because they are tired on not getting any cooperation on working on that big full glass thing? Oh my, how did that slip out? Well, it does sound nice but being a half-glass full person, I guess that's not an option because I am too busy looking for the positives in this scenario to pursue that intriguing alternative. And if you know me at all, you know that I will find them. I may have to look real hard but I will find them and they will not be half-baked positives either.

Maybe I should switch sides and see if the half-glass full grass is greener. Frankly, we all know the question to that one is no way - so I'm not going to hop the fence on this one. I am standing my ground. The sun is going to shine on this girl's watch even if there are some clouds and intermittent showers. I have an umbrella and I like a good walk in the rain once in awhile. I recognize that I will get caught in a flash flood now and again and that there is no fun in that. However, I refuse to set aside my sunglasses and sunscreen because I know that sun is going to shine again at some point.

I think it is interesting how often the full-glass/half-glass relationships occur - in marriages, in work relationships, in schoolmates, in friendships, in casual meetings. It is like watching the day and night meet but not knowing whether you are watching the sunrise or sunset. It is a complicated mix and although annoying, I believe it can be beneficial to both parties. The half-full person is a bit drunk what with all that delighting in the half-full glass life. I am sure that is a tad annoying and certainly sets the stage for a few wake-up-and-smell-the-coffee moments that their opposite half will gladly provide. The half-empty person is apt to indulge a bit of good old fashioned despair at times, or at least a certain cynical delight in the negatives of the world that seem to prove that they are on the right track. Even the half-glasser needs some encouragement after all. Indeed this whole outlook can be a bit tedious in its own way and will set the stage for a few wake-up-and-smell-the-roses moments courtesy of their flower-smelling opposite.

If the two 1/2 glasses could successfully navigate their differences maybe there would be roses and coffee and a full glass of water to boot. I am working on this making this concept a reality. I gotta tell you that it is slow going.

My husband is a half-empty glass kind of guy. I am a half-full girl. It might be summed up in a brief conversation we had yesterday where he told me he believed that I was holding off on paying a bill that had become overdue because he had washed the white and dark clothes together. One of my pet peeves as described in detail here and here. Now that is one half-empty glass. My, what a glorious revenge. What will I think of next? I wish I could be so diabolical in the sock war but it is not in my nature. I know it must be a disappointment to him that my only motivation in the unpaid bill situation was my own lack of organization in the bill-paying department laced with exhaustion, overwork, and a bit of forgetfulness.

So what next?

Me, because my glass is still half-full for goodness sake - I am trying to find that bill, re-sorting the laundry to avoid another white socks in the dark load wash-a-rama, and trying to figure out how I am going to get that man's glass half-full once and for all. Him, well he is probably dipping into his fuzzy white sock stash and checking for clouds on the horizon.

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