Sunday, January 20, 2008

Mundane Things That I Cannot Do

Most of the time, I am able to accomplish most day to day tasks with a minimum of anguish or personal injury. I rarely even think about such things as getting myself dressed in the morning, or ordering a coffee at Starbucks unaided. (A quick look around you will confirm the fact that there are plenty of people who need help with both.) But, sadly,there are some things in this life that I am completely hopeless at; had these been subjects in school I would have been in the remedial class.
  • Two finger whistle: I envy people who can put two fingers in their mouth and fire off a really ear-piercing whistle. That must be fabulous.
  • Euchre: Over the years I've had dozens of people try to teach me how to play Euchre without me getting it at all. (They take it really personally, too, I might add. Like I'm an idiot in this regard just to thwart them.) I cannot keep the rules straight, what a "bower" is or why we only use half the deck.
  • Arrange flowers: My mother makes truly beautiful flower arrangements which look like something out of a Martha Stewart ad when she is done. When I arrange flowers, they look like hyper-active children with hedge clippers have been at them.
  • Swim in a crawl. I can move along with my head underwater, and I can paddle around on the surface, but I've never gotten the hang of the arm-over-arm, turn-your-head-and-breathe-thing. I will flail about in the manner of someone having an underwater epileptic seizure, and will go precisely nowhere.
  • Math in my head: Math is impossible for me at the best of times, but without pen and paper I am entirely incapable of doing even the simplest things. 30% of $25.00? Less than $25, but more than $12....that's the best I can do. Lots of people think I am just lazy, but truly, it's like asking me to start speaking in Portuguese or something.
  • Alphabetical order: When I have to figure out where something lies in the alphabet, I have to run through it in my head.... "l, m, n, o, P!"
  • Hit a ball: Again, plenty of people have tried, in vain, to get me to learn how to hit a ball with something; a club, a racket, a bat, anything. My father, various boyfriends, gym teachers, all ended up bursting every vein in their heads because I was utterly incapable of connecting with a ball.

    But I can do various other things very well, which make up for the other talents that I lack:
  • I can cook anything. I can even eat something at a restaurant and figure out how to make it at home. Few other skills are more valuable.
  • Make stuff: I can sew, make cards, , do calligraphy, make my own jewelry and all sorts of knitting and crochet. I've made hats, sweaters, pajamas, mittens, artwork, necklaces, socks, scrapbooks, skirts, shorts, Christmas ornaments and Halloween costumes. The Mister can make furniture, build computers and he grows our vegetables in the summer. We are practically Amish.
  • Read maps: Until I watched the Amazing Race I had no idea how many people couldn't read a map properly....that show is full of people who couldn't find their own asses with both hands. Himself, who is very good at map reading, still has to turn the map around until it is oriented with his position on the earth, and go from there. My map reading skills kick ass, and I am a human GPS.
  • Drive stick shift: The first car I ever owned was a manual transmission because it was cheaper than an automatic; it was either figure it out or have a very expensive paper-weight sitting in the driveway. I figured it out. Pride and greed are very powerful motivators.
  • Whistle Not with two fingers, but I can whistle a tune pretty accurately. It doesn't seem to bother my children or the cat nearly as much as my singing does.

At least the first list is made up of things that I am entirely okay with not being able to do. I've lived a full and rich life without them, and will continue to do so. Except for the whistling thing; I'd love to be able to do that.

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