Horizontal vs. Vertical

Oldest, 7.  Youngest two, 4.

I’m a vertical person.   

I pile my things-to-do one on top of another.  I get the first thing done and then move down the list.  My goal is to keep things uncomplicated.

My wife is a horizontal person.

At a glance, she knows what needs to be done and exactly what we’ll need to do it; an amazing trait.  Not surprisingly, horizontal people don’t understand the vertical thinking.   Allow me to illustrate.

Let’s say that there is a family going on a day trip for a picnic and some swimming.   And let’s say this fictional family is getting everything ready to go.

The horizontal person is busy packing bathing suits, towels, lotion, making sandwiches, feeding the cat, and putting snacks in the cooler.  The vertical person is busy with picnic preparation, as well – staring blankly into the open refrigerator, waiting for a mustard container that was “right there yesterday” to show up again.

“It’s going to be cooler tonight,” the horizontal person says slowly, maintaining eye-contact.  “Go upstairs and get sweatshirts for the kids.”

Yes!  A vertical task for a vertical person!   Go upstairs.  Get sweatshirts.

On his way up the steps, however, the vertical person encounters a child.

“Dad, do you know where my Lego truck is?”

Together they go upstairs.  They search the bedroom floor and find the Lego truck.  It’s under the bed.  As he’s reaching under the bed to get the truck, a second child calls out from across the hall.  “I can’t get this stupid shoe untied!”

He crosses the hall, tucks the truck neatly under his arm, takes the stupid shoe and starts to untie a double knot.  At the end of the hall, a third child unknowingly locks the cat in a bedroom; bad news for a long day alone.  While still working to untie the stupid shoe, the vertical person walks back the hallway to open the door.  The second child starts grabbing for her still knotted shoe.  From behind, the first child is tugging to get his truck.

It’s at this moment that the horizontal person shouts up the steps, “Get the bug spray from the hall closet.”

From the vertical perspective, I must say: way too many horizontal tasks.

Determined, however, the vertical person frees the cat, delivers the truck, unties the stupid shoe, gets the bug spray, and goes down to tell the horizontal person how he practically saved the world upstairs.  What does the horizontal person say?

“Where are the sweatshirts?”

According to my wife, having children has affected my brain.

Not so.  I’m just vertical.


“Hey, dad?”

Sorry – got to go.  More later.


About murphyjoel

Husband, father, writer, over-sized kid. View all posts by murphyjoel

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