I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now

I have been told that I have the soul of an engineer.

This was not intended as a compliment. But I couldn’t take it as an insult, either; ’tis a mere statement of fact. I do have the soul of an engineer.

As a kid, I would take radios and other small appliances apart, to see if I could figure out how they worked. Most electronic stuff, of course, I couldn’t, as rows of resisters and capacitors don’t tell you that much about their function. The more mechanical items, I at least got the gist of by examining the innards. And naturally being able to put them back together was very important, as certain family members would not be pleased by my rendering valuable items inoperable, even in the noble pursuit of knowledge.

I haven’t changed that much. It comes out strongest when I’m inside a building. While I recognize the artistic architectural details that most people will notice (if they notice anything at all), I’m also interested in the construction details. How thick is that marble facade? How are the electrical and communication wiring wound through the walls? How’d they hide the heating and air conditioning vents and ducts? Usually if you look closely, you can figure out a lot of things about the building’s internals. Not everything, of course.

How I make my living, which is mind-numbing and tedious and I won’t take the risk of unintentionally boring to death anyone reading this by discussing it further, requires the use of my analysis skills. I’m good at it; might as well get paid for it.

But this analytic style of curiosity has a down side. One of the things I like to do during my sentence of existence is to look at clouds. I know, it’s silly, but there it is. White fluffy clouds, grey thunderous clouds, wispy ethereal clouds. All floating above us silly humans, unknowing and uncaring of our ephemeral concerns. Floating or racing through the sky, blooming, merging, fading away. A planet-sized lava lamp above our heads.

In college, I took a geology course, and as part of it I learned all about the classification of different clouds. By the time the course was done, I could look up at a cloud and instantly identify it, name it, describe how that kind of cloud formed and in what weather systems it was common. The only thing I couldn’t do was enjoy looking at them anymore.

My ability to analyze them destroyed my ability to simply enjoy them.

It took a while, it took a long while, but I quite deliberately forgot what I’d learned about clouds. I no longer know their names, their classifications, how they specifically form. None of it. And now I like watching them again.

I also learned a lesson. I can’t speak for anyone but myself in this, but if I analyze anything too much, I can’t enjoy it anymore. Like a radio I’ve taken apart, but can’t put back together again.

Which is why I won’t do anime “reviews”. (Or movie reviews, or book reviews, or any of that.) Reviews require analysis, and I don’t want to ruin what I like.

I don’t even like reading reviews done by other people. Even of shows I’ve already seen! It’s not just that they usually spoil an aspect of a show, if I haven’t seen it yet. It’s that they quite often change the manner in which I watched and enjoyed a show, by presenting a point of view that I didn’t have myself. This is not helped by there being a large (or at least vocal) part of western anime so-called fandom that does not like the kind of shows I like, so many comments about them are derogatory.

I’d much rather occasionally “waste” time watching the first few shows of an anime that I don’t like, than taint my enjoyment of those animes that I do like. So, somewhat ironically, I find the marketing descriptions and/or DVD package blurbs of a show to be my most useful tools to judge if I want to see a show or not. Because those are written so as to be enticing, yes, but also not to spoil watching the show.

All that is the reason why I may talk about specific anime shows (or other media, as the whim hits me), and even about what I liked about them, but I won’t review them. Reviewing is, at best, a critical process of analysis, and I don’t do that.

I just blather on endlessly on a site that no one reads. Which is probably good for everyone.

(Yes, I realize I’m analyzing why I don’t want to analyze things. Shut up. I told you I’m mad.)