Thursday, October 16, 2014


As I reflect on my mission experience, efficiency just wasn't Fuhrer's game. She is a work harder rather than smarter person. And I am a kind of person who is always looking for better or more innovative, efficient solutions.

This mentality even came down to in the morning when we were getting ready. 
Our apartment was 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom- a pretty standard American college sized apartment. All our neighbors were students at the local university, or at least their age. One bedroom we slept in (a rule, that you have to be together), the other one we stored our stuff and got dressed. 

She, not speaking to me of course (remember she said nary a word from 6:30-9am. She'd even blow dry her hair sitting on her bed cross legged reading her scriptures or Jesus the Christ plunked in front of her), would walk back and forth between the two bedrooms and the bathroom getting dressed and whatever. As she would enter and leave a room, she would flip on and off the lights respectively. Since they were pretty close quarters and I was getting ready, too, I would walk in a room right as she was exiting one. Room dark, I would then turn on the light again. As I moved between the rooms, I would leave the lights on and she would keep turning them off. On. Off. On. Off. Flip up. Flip down. It became sort of a joke on a subconscious level because it fit her personality: ordered, controlled, measured, following rules to the T down to the one about not wasting electricity. Or so she thought. 

I know from life experience I guess that leaving a light on for a period of time is more electrically efficient than turning it off and on multiple times. I've heard the figure is about 30 minutes-- that turning a light on from off is equivalent to half an hour of it running. So by flipping lights off and on multiple times (every few minutes or sometimes seconds) over the hour minutes or so uses more electricity than just keeping the lights on for that amount of time.

So one day when it was kind of annoying me to keep walking into dark rooms right after she had exited, I brought up this concept of lighting efficiency. 

"Well, I was raised to always turn off lights when I leave a room," she said flatly. 

"I was, too, don't get me wrong, but it's actually more efficient if you just leave the lights on for this amount of time. I mean, we're both moving in and out of the rooms getting ready passing each other back and forth. It takes a lot of electricity to turn on a light initially from the off position."

She just kind of looked past me with this glazed over look like the wheels in her mind were turning, deciding if I was right or wrong. Then she just walked away, not saying anything.

This concept of efficiency reared it's head again as she always insisted we go tracting instead of doing service or visiting less actives or looking back into past investigators from our 'Area Book' (a record book for everyone taught in the area- their progress and such). Tracting is the LEAST efficient method of missionary work-- I think they even told us that, too, being shockingly honest about something for a change -- but I guess to her it felt like she was working the hardest, so tracting we went.

So funny because, I kid you not, probably a week or two after I had been shot down for suggesting we visit less actives, we had a whole Zone Conference about it. I was just rolling my eyes saying "Duh!" in my head the whole time. But I refrained from saying "I told you so" or "See!" or something else on our (silent) ride home because contrary to what these posts might make you think, I really dialed down the snark out there. I was really trying to be meek and humble and forgiving because I wanted to be changed by the experience. I kept it all inside and really only let myself be candid for that one hour a week when I wrote home. I always had this distinct feeling that people were going to get the wrong impression of me, but I also had to be honest about what I was really feeling. 


Katie said...

I imagine the Fuhrer as someone with un-diagnosed social or mental disorders and no self awareness. I mean, some people have disorders or illnesses but try hard to manage them and mitigate how they effect other people. Obviously she was rude, controlling and passive aggressive towards you; was she the same way towards people you talked to together? Could she carry a conversation when she wanted to?

Austin Smith said...

Wow. Also, now I spent 5 minutes of my life reading up on this issue on Fascinating!