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Doing unusual things for simple reasons

May 26, 2018

When a person does unusual things, the reason is sometimes simpler than it seems.

Here's the illustration that often comes to my mind.  Several years ago, I was visiting Santa Barbara, the town where I'd gone to graduate school.  I'd booked a room in an economical motel near the beach. When I arrived, the very large man at the front desk checking me in was the owner. He was wearing a Hawaiian shirt and had that laid-back Santa Barbara personality that you don't come across often in New York City.  When I got to the room, I saw tropical designs on the walls.  Over the next several days, when I'd leave my room and pass through the lobby, I'd always see the owner there wearing a Hawaiian shirt and a friendly smile.

A few evenings later, Rosa and I were in a club listening to live music, and we got to chatting with the guy at the table next to us. We told him we were visiting Santa Barbara, and he asked where we were staying.  I told him about the motel and the nice owner. "Heavy-set guy?  That's Gus. I've known him for years," the man said.  I mentioned the relaxing tropical vibe of the place. I added that every day I'd seen the owner he was wearing a Hawaiian shirt.

"Yes.  Gus used to always tell me how hard it was to find shirts that fit his size.  Several years ago, he discovered a place that sells Hawaiian shirts, and now it's easy for him to buy shirts that fit."

I imagine Gus also likes the laid-back look of the Hawaiian shirts which fit his personality as well as his torso.  But I sometimes think of Gus and remember that the choices we make often have simple reasons behind them.


  1. Love this story Jon and true, sometimes the choices we make have very simple reasons in our mind, but seem rather complicated to others who can't see matters from our viewpoint. The current political scene is an example. ;). I do love Hawaiian shirts and have ever since I visited there when my oldest grandson graduated from the University of Hawaii on his way to becoming a Pediatrician. On his behalf...I'm taking his son, and my Great Grandson, Luke, a ukulele his size for his birthday next weekend in Memphis so he can learn too. He loves to hear his Dad play. Simple reasons.

    1. And the photos of beautiful flowers that you show on your blog? Simple too: they're beautiful, you love beauty and so do your visitors.

  2. Nice post! Curious how often we overlook simple reasons in search of seemingly better ones. Any ideas why we do that, Jon? Maybe there's a simple reason for that too?


    1. Hi Paul. Your question makes we wonder whether sometimes the simple reasons only seem simple after they're known.