I’m starting to think I might be an idiot-savant. Or somewhere on that spectrum. I’m fluent in two languages, quite familiar with a third, and learning a fourth. I read hard books. I studied opera and German in Vienna, and sat in a cello master class with Yo-Yo Ma. I learned cultural subtleties in India. My kids make requests for me to “do all the voices” when I read to them–and I do them. It’s pretty clear that my brain is hardwired to excel in the arts.
But on to the idiot part.
I am also incompetent in some very basic ways. For instance, I cannot find my way around my hometown without a GPS. (To be clear, I do not live in LA. I live in Bowling Green, Ky, population 50,000). I even have trouble READING the GPS. I always sense that it’s lying to me, convinced it wants to take me down a wrong path. Think I’m exaggerating? I missed my exit the other day, and I was using the GPS. I looked up at the little screen thing and my car was no longer following the lavender line. In fact, my heart raced when I realized that my car was actually traveling on a pure white screen, no roads or gas station icons in sight. I might have yelled, “Oh my word! A pure white screen? What is that? How is that even possible? I have to be somewhere in the world,” while my kids sat in the back of my minivan, and tried to trust me.
And then there’s the little incident that happened yesterday. I opened up our dishwasher and filled the soap dish with liquid detergent. I pressed the ‘start wash’ button and, all in a flash, a wave of terror shot through me (I’m so sick of this feeling, as it happens kind-of a lot). I grabbed the bottle of detergent I had put in the dishwasher. It read Comet Stainless Steel Polish and Rust Remover. Oh please, Lord, no. I had to stop the dishwasher, and pour glass after glass of water into the detergent dish and drain to flush it out–so that my dishes weren’t bathed in a toxic film.
And then, too:
I cannot figure out how to use the remotes for our TV (we have Insight). Why does a person need more than one remote, any of which may or may not control volume?
I can’t figure out Husband’s iPhone. I mean this.
I needed help figuring out how to put the disposable cleaning cloths on the Swiffer in order to mop our floor the other day.
My son consistently works the DVD player for me.
Finding my gate at the airport seems like algebra to me. Flight 440X + Gate28C + customs=Oh no.
Do not ever, ever ask me for directions–or even where I live.
I die a little inside every time I set foot in Wal-Mart. I step through the double doors and feel like I just took a hallucinogen. A kaleidoscope of broccoli, sundresses, and Cover Girl, and I mutter, There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home.
So ask me what Grapes of Wrath has to do with modern India’s persistent poverty, and I’ll talk you a term paper. Just don’t ask me to meet you for lunch. Ask my husband for directions, and then come pick me up instead.