Tradition, what makes us want to follow it and never break it?
Well in the short time I have been reading blogs I have discovered that many of the people I read most often tend to participate in what is known as Love Thursday. There are plenty of other traditions in the blogosphere such as Works For Me Wednesday and the like. Yet, the only one I have been really drawn to is Love Thursday. The funny part about traditions is that lots of people do them because that is just what you are supposed to do without knowing why. I tend to question the whys and what-fors a lot, it's just who I am. I am often thinking about things and wondering how they work, how they are made, or who was the first person to think of something. But then again there are some things I just do out of habit, or tradition and never question why. I am sure we all have some funny stories about traditions and the truth behind them.
I remember going to the grocery store with my boyfriend before we were dating and having an argument about the milk. We had bought some ice cream and milk and a few other things. As we walked out to my car to load up everything we got into an argument about where to put things. I remember him popping the trunk to load things. As he was putting things in I kept out the milk and told him we would put it on the floor of the passenger's side of the car. He asked why and all I could really say was that the floor is where I had always put the milk. He thought it would be in the way in his feet and wanted to know the reason behind putting the milk on the floor rather than the trunk with everything else. I told him that's what my mom had always done and that's just how I do it too. But he wanted to know WHY? What was the reason for it? I realized I had never questioned it and had just always put the milk there. He was starting to make me mad, and when he makes me mad I get irrational and cannot think straight or formulate answers very quickly. So for every reason I started to come up with he would immediately tell me that my reason still didn't make a whole lot of sense and he didn't see why we couldn't just put the milk in the trunk. I told him I had no idea why my mother did this and was only trying to come up with potential reasons. Of course since I was flustered already and just kind of talking my way through things I wasn't really coming up with anything good enough to prove to him why it couldn't just go in the trunk. I was saying how the milk sweats and it would make the things in the trunk yucky with condensation and it would be better on the floor. Plus there is air conditioning in the car and not in the trunk and you can keep the milk cooler by keeping it in the car on the floor near the ac vent. And my main reason and I really do think this was my mother's reason was, what if it starts to leak or something. If it was on the floor near you you could see it and do something about it; if it was in the trunk you wouldn't know and it would get all over everything. But none of this was good enough for him. If it was on the floor it would still sweat and then just get all over his legs. And if it leaks then it is still all over everything and I am driving and there is still nothing I can do about it. Blah Blah Blah. Point is he made me so mad that he questioned me and how I do things and was basically telling me my way was just stupid and I was really mad. He was really mad because I couldn't formulate and answer in a normal amount of time because I was mad. So he told me to just put the dang milk in his feet and lets just go home, and I told him no to put it in the freaking trunk. I don't remember where it went but I know we went home mad. And as I was calming down I could think better so I kept coming up with more answers all the way home until he got really mad and just told me to drop it.
I guess if he hadn't made me so mad I might have seen the sense in his questions then. Honestly I never really had anyone ride in my car with me so it was never a problem before for me to put my groceries on the passenger's side floor because there were no legs and feet to worry about. And I had just never questioned my mother's reasoning behind it but I knew I didn't want the milk sweating and condensating all over other things in my trunk. (Yes, I make up words like condensating because I think they describe the situation better than being grammatically correct, get over it.) But it sweating and condensating on the floor of my car was no different really I suppose. So it really wasn't that big of a deal to change my habit/tradition and put the darn milk in the trunk with everything else. It so shouldn't have turned into such a huge argument. But he made me feel like he thought my tradition was stupid and that my mother was silly for doing it and I was silly for doing it too. And I had to justify it! Only I couldn't really other than saying that's just the way I want to do it.
So I guess what I am really wondering today is what makes us hold on so firmly to traditions that make no sense but that we have never even bothered to question? I once heard about a woman who always cut the ends of the pot roast off before cooking it. Her new husband asked her why and she said that her mother and her grandmother had always done it that way. She called the mother, who called the grandmother to find out why it started because surely it was just an old technique to make the meat more tender and flavorful. The answer they got was that the roast would not fit in the pan unless the grandmother cut the ends off so that's why she did it. So, since they had never questioned why and just done things as their mothers' had, they had been cutting off the ends of roasts for years for absolutely no reason. Granted cutting the roast did no harm either, there was just no real reason to do it.
As I have admitted I am usually one to question things. But sometimes I just don't, and I really am not sure why. What makes some things different from others? Why does it bother me that some people follow pointless traditions while I follow some of my own? When you actually sit down to reason things out you realize that your tradition and habitual way of doing something might not always have a reason behind it. So why do we hold so fiercely to our ideas of the way things should be? The only thing I can come up with is that some traditions are so mindless and we are so set in our ways that the repetition and simplicity of not having to question something is just comforting. I mean nothing says that everyone has to put up our Christmas Trees or Menorahs or whatever traditional holiday items your family uses on the same day at the same time right? Yet each family has certain ideas of what time is right for them and they make a tradition and follow it year after year. And there is really no problem with some children opening presents on Christmas Eve and others on Christmas Morning. So why do we find it odd when other families do not celebrate the way we do? I think tradition is comforting. I know I take some comfort in the ease with which I just know what to do sometimes and I just know the way things should be and how I just know what others are expecting of me. That's not to say it stops me from doing things my way just because I know others will disagree, because it most certainly does not. But I think a certain degree of tradition and habits are comforting for everyone.
So in the sense of tradition I think I will participate in Love Thursday, even though I don't really know why it happens or why it started. And I am not promising to be faithful and only post blogs about love on Thursdays. I will be a rebel and post blogs about love on any day I so choose, and Thursday posts will not always be Love Thursday posts. But that is okay by me. I just want to have some sense of tradition here and I think Love Thursday is a good one. It is one that will make me think about things I love and what makes me happy and makes my heart sing. I think that is a really good tradition to start. So from now on I plan on thinking about things that make me happy and sharing them with you in the hopes that I can make you a little happier too. Traditions are good for sharing the love and happiness! And I suppose I started a tradition with talking about tradition, ironic much?