I met my husband 11 years ago. I was carrying my guitar into my dorm room on freshman move-in day at the University of Southern Maine. I saw him eyeing my guitar with great interest. When he knocked on my door and introduced himself, he said, “Hey! I’m Adam. I live across the hall. I’m a computer geek!”
It was a bold move on his part. Being a computer geek ten years ago wasn’t exactly “hot” and he was either socially ignorant to this fact, or he just didn’t care. Regardless, I was in love. I wasn’t even a computer geek myself at the time, but I was smitten with his forwardness and his apparent lack of concern about his own geekery. Finding out that he also played guitar sealed the deal. Fate would have it that he lived directly across the hall from me.
In the following weeks, months and years, he was able to hold my attention as he ranted about hardware specs for his gaming machines, his god-like status in Unreal Tournament matches, his ColdFusion senior project application, and his long explanations on programming theory. I sat and watched in amazement as he built and tore down PCs. I listened to him talk through programming problems and watched him build websites. All the while I was planning some vague career with political science and english, but I was nonetheless interested in Adam’s life.
It was no accident that years later I knew that “Ruby” wasn’t just July’s birthstone and that “Ruby on Rails” wasn’t a rebellious act of sacrificing precious gems on railroad tracks in hipster neighborhoods. I spent years actually being engaged in his interests. And when he fell in love with Ruby in late 2005, I was supporting him all the way and knew exactly why Ruby was incredible. Several years later, when I decided to learn Ruby, I came out with a post on my blog about the Ruby community. A lot of people were confused as to how a Ruby newb could already understand the Ruby community so well. Truth was, I had been following the community for quite some time before I ever decided to learn to program in Ruby. I knew all the big names, the trends, and the history before I ever opened up TextMate and saved a .rb file.
Do you get that glazed, faraway look in your eye when you partner starts talking about a programming problem, or the newest testing framework? There’s no need to be bored. Ask questions, try to understand! When I meet women today, I don’t avoid talking about the work that I do, my love for pc gaming, or my fascination with D&D and other such geekery. Often I’ll get a response along these lines: “Programming? My husband does something like that I think.” To which I always inquire, “Oh really? What language does he work with?” Their response is always the same: “Language? huh. I have no idea. There’s more than one? I don’t really know what he does. I don’t pay attention to that stuff.”
This always blows my mind. You’re married to someone, and you aren’t interested enough in the person to know anything about what they do with nearly 40-50% of their time, aside from their job title? Is it dangerous to draw a correlation between high divorce rates and the lack of interest that people have in their partners lives? It’s easy to fall in love with the “idea” of a person when you first meet them. But I think it would be hard to endure a lifetime of ups and downs, trials and tribulations and the everyday challenges that life throws at two people, if those partners didn’t have a truly vested interest in each other’s passions and life’s work. And if you don’t have even a basic understanding of what your spouse does with 40+hours of his/her week, then you’re not on a team.
I’m not suggesting that you give up your own individuality and personal interests when you meet someone special. But open your mind enough to experience the world through your partner’s eyes. I admit there were occasions when Adam would be on his third diatribe of the evening on meta-programming, and my mind would start to wander. But I was generally engaged in his interests. And why wouldn’t I be? Falling in love involves getting to know a person. And getting to know a person usually involves talking about and understanding each other’s personal interests. Adam certainly had to endure hundreds of hours listening to Ani Difranco, Dar Williams, and Iron & Wine albums, along with my absurdly psychotic analysis of all of the lyrics. He learned to play tennis at my prompting, although I have to swallow losing nearly every game to him now. He watched my ballet performances in college, and even knew how to pronounce a few of the positions. Below is a photo of Adam and I embarking on a hike up Tumbledown Mountain. It captures Adam’s willingness to step away from the computer for a day and partake in my interest in the outdoors. He was a trooper.
It should not be hard to be engaged in your partner’s interests. If it is that hard, you might want consider the possibility that you might be full of yourself. Even amongst my friends, I make a concerted effort to listen and understand their individual interests and passions. I always learn something new, and sometimes I get to discover a new passion for myself.
Professionally, I wouldn’t be where I am today, if I had daydreamed my way through Adam’s geek rants. Our relationship resulted in thousands of hours of video gaming, late-night programming tutorials, brainstorming sessions for new apps, some camping trips and lots of folk music. Even if you don’t follow a similar career path as your spouse, being interested in their work and their hobbies can open up other doors for you. It broadens your world view and helps you to suck less as a human being. It’s about being part of a team that works together. I don’t professionally program like Adam; I’m not built that way. I understand programming, but unfortunately I wasn’t given Legos to play with as a child, math skills were never encouraged in school or at home, and the engineering/problem-solving side was never nurtured. So, while I enjoy programming, it comes a lot harder to me than it does for others. But writing is a strength, and programming and technology is a huge interest of mine - so scoring a gig as Intridea’s Community Manager really rocked my world. I keep my eye into the world that I love, my finger on the pulse of it, and the work that results is always rewarding and fun.
So if you’re with someone new, find a way to be interested in the the things they like to talk about. And if you’re with someone old, rediscover the love of your life by asking about their work and listening to their response. Don’t feign interest. And please, don’t be one of those girls that doesn’t know what language her husband programs in. Be the cool wife that surprises her husband’s dorky friends when she knows Java is, and can engage in a short discussion on the evangelicalism of the Ruby community without asking, “Honey, I didn’t know you were a jeweler!”
他做了一很勇敢的决定。 10年前当程序员并不像今天这么“火”，这个行业并不被社会重视，他似乎也根本不在意这些。不管怎样，我们相爱了。我当时并不懂编程，但却被他那义无反顾 的精神和毫不在意被人当作怪人的态度打动。是发现了他也弹吉他使我们走到了一起。如果仅是他住在走廊我的对面，命运也不会做出这样的安排。
几年以后，我很自然的就知道了，“Ruby”并不是指的七月的生日石，而“Ruby on Rails”也不是邻区的新潮人在火车轨道上举行的敬拜珍贵宝石的奇怪活动。几年时间里，我事实上也培养出了他的同样的兴趣。2005年末他深深的喜欢上了Ruby，我全力支持他，而且也知道Ruby的不可思议之处。几年后，当我决定了开始学习Ruby，我在博客上写了一篇关于Ruby社区的文章。很多人都很奇怪为什么一个像我这样的Ruby新手会对Ruby社区有如此的了解。答案是，我在决定学习Ruby编程之前已经关注这个社区很久了。在我曾经打开TextMate编辑器、保存第一个.rb文件之前，我就知道了这个社区里有那些大人物，Ruby的发展趋势，和历史事件。
当你的伴侣开始跟你讲编程的问题时，或讲最新的测试框架时，你的眼神里是否显露出一种呆滞和恍惚？事情并不是你想象的单调乏味。问他问题，尝试着去理解！如今当我遇到女人们时，我并不回避给她们谈我的工作，谈我喜欢的电脑游戏，谈我着迷于 D&D 游戏以及其它这样的荒诞事情。通常我得到的回复是这样的几句：“编程？我想我丈夫做的好像也是这方面的。”对于此，我总是问道：“哦，真的吗？他用的是什么编程语言？”她们的回答每次都一样：”语言？哼，我可不知道。不止一种吗？我并不真正知道他在干什么。我对这些东西没兴趣。“
Ani Difranco， Dar Williams， 和 Iron & Wine 唱片，我会在一旁神经质的给他解释所有的歌词。在我的鼓励下他学会了打网球，尽管现在不得不忍受每次被他打败的结果。在大学里他看过我的芭蕾舞表演，他甚至都知道了不少其中的姿势的叫法了。下面的照片是我和Adam在徒步翻越缅因州Tumbledown山时拍的。它见证了Adam自愿从计算机旁走开，参加到我喜欢的户外运动中的事情。他很顽强。