Tuesday, October 26, 2010

"Don't listen to your teacher, you're not crazy/Just smarter than the rest of them"

The Song: "Life is Sweet," Maria McKee. Words & music by Maria McKee. Track 11 of Life is Sweet, 1996.
How/when acquired: Purchased used CD, 1999
Listen/watch here.

I bought this CD and You Gotta Sin to Get Saved, McKee's 1993 masterpiece, at Amoeba Music in Los Angeles during my month-long scouting trip in 1999, before I moved there. Life is Sweet was exactly the album I needed, and hit so close to home that the first time I listened to it, I burst into tears. (Today's quotation was almost from another song off this album, "Smarter," but it's so close to my own life story it's too personal to post here. And no, you can't listen to it online. I checked. Buy a copy if you want to know.)

Yesterday a friend asked, in an apparent non sequitur, "How patient are you?" I had no idea what he was asking. We've been friends for almost ten years, and I've been plenty patient with him in that time (as he has been with me, of course).

I gave him a blank look and he said, "Well, you're really smart. How patient are you with people who aren't as smart as you?"

Here is something that should not be a secret: I am not as smart as I pretend to be. I am not as smart as anyone thinks I am, and quite often that includes myself. I never have been. I have an uncanny verbal memory, and I'm good at words. That is not "smart." I can barely multiply two-digit numbers without a calculator. I am terrified of money. I'm an awful driver, and had no hand-eye coordination even before I started to lose my vision. I didn't learn to tie my shoes or tell time until I was well into the first grade. Anyone who has seen my apartment knows that I lack quite a few basic life skills. Everybody does certain things better than I do.

What, then, would I have to be patient about? I'm busy being grateful that people are patient with me.


SteveHL said...

I hope you'll accept "nonsense" as a response to this. Great physical coordination, like great intelligence, is a gift but they are hardly the same thing. You can say truthfully, I imagine, that you are not perfect; saying that you are not smart is ridiculous.

Besides, if you're not smart, what would that make all of us who follow your blog?

AnswerGirl said...

Thanks, that's very kind! Maybe what I mean to say is that smart people can be as stupid as anyone else. It's my right, dammit, and I'm not giving it up.