blahblahblah · navelgazing

The good, the bad and the ugly

“What are you good or bad at?” ask assorted excellent bloggers. A good question, and one I can’t resist having a go at, even though there are large chunks I’d be tempted just to cut and paste almost direct from Katyboo; and even though there are many, many things I can’t quite qualify as either one or the other.

1. Eating. I am very very good at eating. A lot. With gusto, and preferably with wine. And dessert.

2. Making sandwiches. In general, Armin would say I’m a great cook and I’d say he only thinks that because he’s so very relieved he doesn’t have to do the cooking himself… I quite like to cook, but I’m lazy, and easily distracted, and worryingly prone to serving up meals accidentally Cajun style. Sandwiches, however, I can do. I am very, very good at sandwiches.

3. Reading. I actually don’t read a lot of books these days, which is extremely sad, and can mostly be blamed on the fact that it’s hard to read comfortably while knitting. It can be done, but it’s tricky, especially given toddler wrangling constraints. I hold out hope, however, that there will be an iPad in my future, and that that will make it all better. Anyway, though, reading: good at. Fast. Good at interpretation. I think.

4. Editing. Which is lucky, since it’s my job (when I have one). Very, very good at this, actually.

5. Sleeping. Oh how I love to sleep. I rarely have trouble conking out; I’m easily woken by the things I should be woken up by (alarms, baby), yet rarely disturbed by random noise. I dream extensively and in detail. Sleep is pretty much one of my favourite recreational activities. More sleep, please, universe.

6. Knitting. This almost went under the “ugly” category, because I’m painfully aware that I’d be a much better knitter with a little more perfectionism; but even so, I’m not too bad with the sticks and string. Given how much I like to do it, and how much I’ve learned over (gulp) two decades doing it, it pretty much has to be filed under “good”.

7. Empathy. I’m actually so good at seeing the other side, it can be a problem. Nobody likes to hear, after ranting to a good friend about the impossible behaviour of colleague X: “Oh, that’s awful! How infuriating! I wonder if they were feeling Y… or trying to achieve Z…” I’m empathetic enough to realise I’m being a git, but usually only just after I’ve already said the annoying thing. Still, though, good at understanding, and giving advice.

8. Finding life funny. Also to the point where it’s sometimes kinda offensive to those who may not have quite such a highly functioning sense of humour. Oops.

1. Patience. Nice idea in theory; I think there should be more of it in the universe, but everyone else should be more patient with me. Not the other way around.

2. Being wrong. I just never am. It’s a curse.

3. Sewing. Oh man. I hate sewing. It’s the opposite of everything I like about knitting. Pity, as it’s probably far more useful.

4. Blogging. I think I was good at it once, about 8 years ago; but I lost the groove somewhere. No consistency. Pity, as I really do enjoy it.

5. Housekeeping. The less said the better. (Apparently you’re supposed to wash your sheets sometimes! Who knew?)

6. Shopping. A horrible, frustrating, exhausting task. Except online of course: then it’s just dangerous. On which subject…

7. Financial prudence. Or in fact impulse control of any sort. I can resist anything except temptation.

8. Doing things I don’t want to. I blame this on having been smart in high school. I got good grades without trying, and my parents weren’t pushy, so I coasted. Result: I got a perfectly respectable, though not outstanding, degree and a perfectly satisfactory career, but I never learned the self-discipline to knuckle down and Do My Homework (or, you know, whatever). I plan to be much more annoying to poor Elfling than my lovely, gentle, undemanding parents were to me.

9. Making new friends. This saddens me. I’m pretty good with the ones I have, but new friends? I just … I don’t know where to begin. Or where to go from there. It’s all painfully awkward.

1. Attention to detail. You might think this contradicts my “good at editing” claim, but it goes with “bad at patience” and “bad at doing things I don’t want to”. I’m a very good editor (partly) because mistakes tend to jump out at me: I pick up a lot more than most editors do, but I do it without really trying. When I have to go over something for the sixth time, to check tiny little details… not so great at that part. It’s also why I’m not as good at knitting as I really should be.

2. Tact. I can be really, really good at this (see “Empathy”), but I also have an unfortunate habit of blurting out exactly the wrong thing (see “impulse control”, “sense of humour” and indeed, um, “empathy”) the second it flits through my tiny brain. Oops.

3. Listening. Good at the empathy part. Not good at the paying attention part. Mind, it wanders. It’s like I don’t even care about – ooh! shiny!

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