Springingtiger's Blog

Familiarity with light bulbs

I recently overheard a conversation in which a young lady expressed a determination to take a spent light bulb to a hardware shop because she did not know for what to ask. It made me reflect on how unconscious we become of our familiarity with some things. I am unlikely to ask about light bulbs, but I am not going to poke around inside my television. However I realise that there are many things that have become so natural to me that I scarcely think about them, and it is entirely down to a familiarity born of practice.

The first time I was advised to replace my CMOS battery I was totally nonplussed, now I take it in my stride, which shows how rarely I update my PC. The point is that until we are forced to become aware of something we will remain blissfully ignorant of it, but thereafter we become, so to speak, one of the cognoscenti.

Of what we do not know we must ask and this brings me to another new year’s revolution (so called because it is a complete turn round of attitude). Sometimes we are inclined to despair of the apparent stupidity of other people’s questions, but they only appear stupid to us because we are so used to knowing the answer we find it incredible that others don’t. Were it not for other people’s ignorance, and unwillingness to use the internet, I don’t suppose I would have a job; so this year I shall welcome the ignorance of my customer and accept that if they don’t ask they will never know. Every question someone asks is an opportunity to make their world, and incidentally, mine, a better place, so this year I intend to answer questions cheerfully and explain fully, in the hope that people will retain  the knowledge and understanding the answer gives them. I also intend to indulge in totally unrealistic optimism!


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