In my A to Z Challenge post yesterday, I wrote about pragmatism and described myself as a practical pragmatist, someone who is guided by practical considerations, someone who self-describes as a logical, rational, and reasonable person.
Today I’m going to write about the word “quixotic,” which is a word I would use to describe my wife. She can be impulsive and often rashly unpredictable. She can also be exceedingly idealistic; unrealistic, and impractical, albeit with a sense of romantic nobility.
The word “quixotic” is taken from the name of the hero of Cervantes’ 1605 novel with the themes of chivalry, romance, and sanity, “Don Quixote.” Quixote dreams up a romantic ideal world, which he believes to be real, and acts on this idealism, which most famously leads him into imaginary fights with windmills that he regards as giants, leading to the related metaphor of “tilting at windmills.”
I’m not suggesting that my wife is tilting at windmills. But she is highly idealistic, can be impulsive, and does have a sense of romantic nobility. And her quixotic nature serves as a perfect complement to my practical pragmatism and is the best explanation I have for why we will be celebrating 43 years together later this year.