Not Quite The Renaissance Woman
Even when I was a little girl, I disliked the adage, “Jack of all trades, Master of none.”
I didn’t want to be encouraged to stick to only one thing. I wanted to be able to do everything.
Attention Deficit Disorder Desire For Versatility has stuck with me my whole life.
And, for the most part, it has paid off.
People say to me all the time, “You are such a Renaissance Woman.”
Okay, they don’t say that.
But I’m quite sure they think it.
After all, I write a blog, draw the illustrations, control the finances for a decent-sized company, bake my own bread, practice Yoga and Zumba, and keep abreast of all the latest fashions.
But as much as I would like to be Master Of All Trades (I just can’t use the word Mistress – it doesn’t convey the same power as Master), I admit that there are certain things that I just can’t seem to get the hang of.
I can’t balance on one foot. For someone as flat-chested as a boy, I’m extremely tippy. Luckily, this only matters in Yoga, which, I have been repeatedly told (by every Yoga instructor I have ever had), is not a competition. But forget Warrior III or Eagle pose. And when I am in Tree pose, I am sure the people around me are not thinking “Namaste!” – but “Timber!”
I can’t play the piano. Oh sure, I have a piano. And I have had seven years of instruction in various chunks. And I can read music. But I can’t play. I can only figure out. if I hit a bad note (like in every measure), I have to stop and figure it out. I have to stop for an unfamiliar chord. Or a plethora of sharps or flats – (and why do they DO that? What the hell is wrong with the key of C?) I stop and figure it out, and then stop and figure it out again.
Last Christmas, a guest admiring my piano asked to play something.
“Oh, I can’t,” I said, (which I meant literally).
“Just one Christmas carol. Silent Night, Something. Anything. Just one,” he pleaded.
I explained: “Dinner will be ready in an hour. We don’t have time.”
I can’t flip an egg. I can bake bread, and make ratatouille (I’m not saying I can pronounce it), and produce a four-course dinner for twelve – but I cannot flip an egg. I do not blame myself for this. I think I just need the right spatula. I have 27 spatulas, but I’m sure I just need to keep shopping for one that works. Or perhaps the right pan. We recently had overnight company, and at breakfast I asked her how she liked her eggs.
“Scrambled,” she said.
“Thank God,” I said.
You know that condition – Prosopagnosia, it’s called – where a person cannot recognize faces? I have no facial recognition for cars. Autoagnosia, I call it. It drives my husband crazy. A short time ago, I had lunch with an old friend.
“What kind of car did he drive?” my husband asked when I got home.
“I don’t know,” I said.
“But you were IN IT!” he said in his exasperated voice.
I thought hard. “It had a passenger side and a driver side. It had a steering wheel on the driver side. The visor mirror lit up.”
“Jesus Christ!” he said, as he is insensitive to my Condition.
“I’m almost certain it was blue,” I added helpfully.
I cannot comprehend constellations. I see no pattern in the stars. They are just little lights in the sky. You can connect the dots any way you want; I don’t see dippers or bears or swans. If I look and look for a really long time,
I can distinguish