Only ten? Sheesh. I could rattle off a list of ten in my sleep (which is something I do badly. I don’t sleep. I want to sleep, but I can’t. Not well. Husband sleeps pretty much anywhere, under any circumstances. Infuriating).
So what else am I rubbish at besides sleep?
1. Math. Me and numbers began our rocky relationship way the hell back in about third grade, when I held up three fingers to my teacher and said “why do they call this three and not four?” She said “because that’s just the way it is.” We call that a missed teaching moment. After that moment of philosophical inquiry, I tried to make sense of numbers, really I did. But then it was 9th grade algebra and that confounded X, which became even more horrifying in 11th grade, when I had to take something called algebra 3/trig. I spent most of the year cataloging my teacher’s outfits. She never wore the same thing twice. I promise. I mapped it in my notebook, instead of all that sine co-sine crap she was trying to teach me.
2. Learning from instructions. I need someone to show me. Preferably more than once. Trying to figure out anything from a manual–cameras, microwaves, watches–makes me crazy, because…
3. … patience is not my strong suit. Reading instructions takes too damn long. I want to intuit how something works (the ol’ trial-and-error method, which mostly ends up in error and trial and swearing), or I want someone to just show me, and then I’ll do it on my own.
4. Skiing. I should’ve learned to ski a long time ago, before I had fear. Alas, I grew up in Illinois. You know what they have in Illinois? Corn fields. Some cows. Hills and mountains, not so much. Occasionally we went to Wisconsin, where they have slightly larger hills and people do ski there, but I never figured it out. And now all I can think about is that if I fall it’s going to hurt, a lot.
5. Seeing the world from my Husband’s perspective. Says my husband. He’s wrong of course, but there you are, now he can’t complain that I don’t ever listen to him.
6. Not eating cookies. Can’t stop. Shouldn’t buy them, shouldn’t have them in the house, but can’t stop.
7. Tending to the sick. I’m reasonably sympathetic to my children when they’re sick (although not so sympathetic as to make them think that it’s fun to stay home from school), but when pretty much anyone else is sick, including myself, I’m an inhospitable nursemaid. I take after my grandmother, whose remedy for pretty much everything was vaseline and a nap. Vaseline as a topical, the nap for anything internal.
8. Reading maps under pressure. I can do pretty well navigationally when I’m alone or when I don’t have to decide instantly TURN LEFT HERE, NO WAIT, HERE, NO WAIT MAYBE IT’S A RIGHT. Of course, there was that time in Indiana when Husband believed what the GPS said–that we weren’t at our destination–as I looked out the window and said, um…it’s right there.
9. Singing. Couldn’t carry a tune if you put it in a bucket for me. Unfortunately for everyone around me, I love music and love to sing. The upside of having to drive everywhere, as I do now, is that I play music and sing along, loudly. I figure it helps the crazy Abu Dhabi drivers know I’m on the road. They might not see me, in my tiny little hatchback, but they can hear me!
10. Make-up. I would love to be one of those women who know all the intricacies of make-up: foundation, concealer, blush, eyeshadow, mascara, lipstick. The women with luminescent skin and wide-open eyes. I just can’t do it. In part due to reason #3–who has time for all that?–but also because I never get it right. I’ve tried the full maquillage and I end up looking like Tammy Faye Baker on a bad day.
It occurs to me that in this day and age of “everyone gets a prize!” we shouldn’t call this list “things I can’t do.” Let’s instead call them my non-strengths, shall we? What are your non-strengths?