I have never been known for straightforward, logical thinking. Just ask my family. 🙂 I failed the only programming class I ever took (although to this day I can read programs written in some languages and figure out where the problems are) and my brothers would regularly whup my butt at any game requiring an advanced-thinking strategy. My mind doesn’t handle chess or checkers–heck, my son beat me at chess the first time we ever played. He was nine years old. I did not let him win.
However, I’m able to think in patterns and spatial relationships that my straightforward-thinking family members can’t handle. No brother of mine ever beat me at 3D tic-tac-toe, although when we played the paper version I only won if I got lucky. I’m very good at troubleshooting computer problems because I don’t expect them to behave logically and I understand when to search for less exact terms. My husband, who made it all the way through college calculus without trouble and went to grad school in a demanding scientific field, regularly fumes at his computer because he expects it to behave in certain ways and of course it won’t. I just wish he didn’t get so annoyed with me for coming up with the solutions. I know; logical people don’t think illogic solves problems. That does not make sense.
Why did I go off on this tangent today? Because I recently discovered to my absolute astonishment that I can solve Sudoku puzzles. The iTunes store was having a sale, and in browsing through what was available I found a free Sudoku app. At first I wasn’t going to get it, figuring it would be hopelessly beyond my powers of reason, but then I figured what the heck, I could always delete it if I couldn’t handle it.
I tried an easy puzzle and figured it out without much difficulty and with only one or two false moves. I did another one and another one and…. OMG I can do this!
I don’t do it logically. I do it by seeing patterns. I will never be a speed demon or a champ but I can do this. I am now doing the medium-diffuculty puzzles and my average solve time is just a little slower than on the beginner ones, although I’m making a few more false moves per puzzle, usually because I’m not paying close attention to where the numbers are. When I’m actually seeing what I’m looking at, I rarely make mistakes.
I mentioned this to my son last night and he said he wasn’t at all surprised. Because for years now I have been playing an old DOS based logic game called Sherlock. You’re presented with a grid and a series of graphical clues as to where various icons must go on the grid to solve the puzzle. My husband was the first one to get involved with that game and when I saw it I didn’t think I could handle it either, but here I am, probably 20 years later and still playing it. (If any of you might be interested in trying it, it’s still available from the programmer, Everettt Kaser, on his web site.) I think I’m using logic to solve those puzzles, but I might not even know what real logic is.
I think once I get done with the ten medium-hard puzzles on the free Sudoku app, I’ll buy the full version so I can have lots more challenges. Man, I feel so good about this!