was thinking about action-reaction the other day. More specifically,
I was thinking about how people think and behave when given different
set of situations within the same overall scenario.
Parking your car.
was early in the day when these thoughts began pestering me. I
had a few errands to run, and I pulled into an almost empty Walmart
parking lot. As I maneuvered toward the doors, I considered what
I needed to get inside, and made a decision to park closer to
the pharmacy side. Lot almost empty, I was able to park at the
front of the row.
I came out of the store, two cars had parked near me, and for
whatever reason, I wondered which one had arrived first, and why
they made decisions like moving through spaces (so they could
leave without putting the car in reverse). Then I began to wonder
what would happen over the next few hours as more people arrived.
leave the Walmart parking lot for a moment.
about Tic Tac Toe.
of the options are available on the opening move. You could play
a corner, center, or middle edge space. The opponent hasnít played
yet, so there is no blatantly specific reason for making any selection,
other than personal preferences and playing styles.
my knowledge and experience, most people pick center. And over
the years, Iíve seen articles explaining how such a move affords
the most options, even with sloppy and mistake-filled play, to
achieve a tie or win. I have also heard plenty of arguments for
selecting a corner. Evidently, with disciplined play, it pretty
much assures a tie while leading to a quicker win if the opponent
missteps. Rarely, it seems, is an opening move a middle space
along the edges. Plus, all of this said, I have not studied the
statistics and probability of Tic Tac Toe in depth to make myself
some sort of grand master.
relation to our parking lot pondering arrives with move number
two, and subsequently move number three. Itís when the reactions
begin to come into play that the fun begins. You take this Ė I
take that. You move here Ė I move there. And so on.
open board, with nine options available for selection, presents
every possibility to the person with the first move. A board with
even one space removed from consideration presents decisions and
your preference is, when available, to park so that you can simply
shift into drive and leave. Maybe you like to be next to a certain
door of the building. Maybe you like to set things up so at least
one side of your car is at the end of a row. Maybe you hate the
ends of rows.
we donít have much of a choice. If itís busy, there may only be
a couple of spaces to select. This is especially true if we do
actually care where we park.
the wider tangents of my thoughts, it seems like many of the things
we do are not the actual first selection (so to speak). We donít
usually face the open board. InsteadÖ
weather might determine if we can mow the lawn or paint the house.
different brands offered can factor into which grocery store we
flow of traffic and speed of cars ahead might influence which
lane we select on the highway.
if you use coffee pods, you might make your first decision of
the day based simply on whatever pods are near the unit.
isnít an essay about Tic Tac Toe. Or Walmart. Itís just a meandering
debate about the patterns of choices we make. Scratching the surface
on why we do what we do. And I might even explore it a bit more
if I didnít have to head into the kitchen to decide what to make