Wednesday, August 02, 2006

My mind is like UDP

As I was stepping out for lunch from my office, I ran into a lady in the hallway. I say "how are you doing" because I am a pleasant kind of guy and was in an agreeable mood. She was happy with my civility and replied "Great, how are you?".

My response was "Thank you. (uncomfortable long pause) I am good".

Now it is a little deal but I was bemused by my utterances. I clearly said the right stuff but the order was some how reversed when I spoke them and I was not sure why. I am not good at letting things go unresolved in my head. This does not mean that I can explain all events around me, it just means that I have to fool myself into thinking I have a good enough explanation.

So I ended with UDP. UDP stands for User Datagram Protocol. It is a fancy sounding way of describing a low level plumbing on the internet that is used to move your files across computers, etc.

Think of it this way. Assume your text (email, pictures, blog entry, what not) are passengers in this train (UDP).

This train moves all of its passengers from one station to another. Say from your computer to your friend's.

You would think this would be straightforward. Leave station A and pull into station B. Turns out that it is a little more complicated. For efficiency, the instant the passengers are fully loaded. The train is locked and all the carriages are disconnected and hooked to whatever train will take them to station B sooner*. But to retain the illusion, the carriages are all reconnected to resemble the train just before it reaches station B and the passenger disembark. You see where I am going with this....

Anyways, UDP unfortunately does not ensure that the carriages are all reconnected in initial order before the passengers disembark. This leads to some awkward situations such as Don who is ever punctual and was aboard the train 30 mins. before Liz ends up arriving after Liz much to his chagrin.
This is why emails you send to your boss show up out of order and get you fired because he received your expense report before your explanation for why that trip to Vegas was good for the company. And yes, there is a better behaved brother to UDP called TCP who ensures the ordering (this is why web pages load in order**). But that is a discussion for another day.

All I wanted to say is that I think my brain is a slave to efficiency like UDP and so once the actual phrases were figured out, namely "I am good" and "Thank you". They ended up spoken out of order for sake of efficiency. So don't feel sorry for me.

* if no other train leaves sooner then this train leaves with its carriages and carriages from other trains. Yeah this analogy stops working at some point because, well.... it really is more complicated than trains isn't it?

** yes sometimes images load before the text or vice-versa. Well that is because it really is more complicated than toy trains.


kimmie said...


I still think you're cool :)

becks said...

Oh btw, this is me de-lurking. I think this is a fascinating analysis and most likey an accurate description. Is there some sort of thingy that makes things come out opposite? For example, if I am hot because I live in Texas and it's 110 outside, but somehow manage to say instead that I'm cold...can you figure that one out? Cause I sure can't. I'd like to be able to blame it on some intelligent sounding acronym.

texasteacher said...

I must be really intelligent since my initials are TCP!!!!