- PJ Plauger
[The essay in the cut is a work in progress]
I am a fixer. This has been pointed out to me by most of my friends, my mother, and women that I have dated (all of them). Fixers are people that try to solve a problem, alleviate the stress of a problem, through as direct a manner as possible. Fixers are fundamentally pragmatic people; they are caring though perceptually cool, if not out right cold.
When you bring a problem to fixer, his first reaction is to attempt to understand the depth of the problem. This generally manifests as background questions designed to illuminate breadth and depth; depending on the familiarity the fixer has with the situation and the one bringing the problem, this process can be drawn out - especially when the fixer is an INTJ, the expert, which I happen to be. The fixer hopes that with more understanding a solution presents itself.
When we offer solutions it is because we care. It is the ultimate gift to give happiness to us, to be there as a crutch - perhaps as a jack is a better analogy, like a car jack. When we offer ways around or ask if there are ways to fix, we are NOT ignoring the problem. We are drawing it out. In the solution can be found the source and vice versa. This relates to the inevitable questioning period noted above. Invariably, this is why we are accused of not caring, being cold, unkind. It is the process of understanding that a fixer develops that can reach precision to become automatic.
Fixers are not cold people. Fixers aren't trying to ignore your trouble, your pain. Fixers want to understand what it is, how it works, how it is affecting you. Most importantly, a fixer wants to remove the pain, make it betterFixers believe offering solutions to be the best way to be there for a person in pain. Fixer as, after all, human too though they may be loath to admit so.
But there's something more important to understand with fixers. There are degrees of "success." We can understand that some problems are involved, difficult. There is rarely a single thing to do that can suddenly relieve months of build up and stress. In these situations we want so badly to remove even the slightest bit of tension that we may seem desperate, unyielding - occasionally to a fault.
Success can come slowly but this too is gratifying. Think of it from our perspective. Someone you care about greatly is having, or has had a long series of, distressful days brought on by weeks of stress. You have watched this pile up and seen the cracks in the structure appearing for a time. You recognize that there is no way to fill all those cracks and remove the load in one fell swoop. Instead, you work slowly to fix some of the cracks solidly so the structure is stronger over time, a small victory. Can you see how that would be gratifying? How that would be a great victory?
It isn't about solving everything all at once. Getting a single smile after a day of frowning is huge. It means that there is an avenue to help, a starting point for the cure. Keep at it in small ways and eventually the structure is sound and the pressure relieve.
This is what we want you to know. We want that smile. We want an ounce of happiness, regularity, normalcy, relaxation in a sea of difficulty. Those ounces eventually add up to something great.
I am a fixer. It is my life's blood to be there, wherever "there" may be.
I made my deadline. I've tested everything that needed to be tested. Things should relax a bit for a few weeks. The release testing and late fix cycle, though getting stuffed with things to do, is generally less pressing than the end of a development cycle.
I am OK today. I slept nearly the whole night. I woke briefly at 2am when my jaw cracked. I slept with it at a funny angle and tried to swallow; it popped. I woke up from the discomfort but promptly feel back to sleep. I had hazy dreams about something I can't recall anymore.
lady_fox is off to Virginia tomorrow. I haven't any idea what I'm going to do with my Friday night. I'm suddenly depressed at the prospect of staying in, though I do have an art project I'd like to work on, and I can finally watch Gandhi. I don't know. It feels oddly pathetic in this case, when both Fox and Aetrix will be busy. I think this will be the first night, certainly a Friday, when I'll be on my own. I contemplated asking work people out to do something but... But what? I don't know what. I feel odd doing it out of the blue.
I'm so bad at making friends any more.
Bah. When did I become so dependent on companion ship? On having people present?
Live with someone for four years, I suppose become accustomed to having them around.
I suppose if I can't find something to do or someone (out with which) to go [out with] I'm going to build a giant blanket pile and watch movies and eat pizza and paint in my PJs. There may be cats in there somewhere, especially if there's food on the floor.
Blanket piles are soothing. The world is perfect when you look at it from a blanket pile.