27 October, 2010

if i only had a brain!

one of the problems couples encounter (at least i certainly hope other couples encounter this problem) is that once one partner exhibits a gift in a certain direction, the other partner feels liberated to completely slack off.

take me, for instance. since mr. monkey has a natural way with numbers, historical events and geography (i.e. how many poles killed in world war two or the population of vancouver) i have completely abdicated responsibility in this area. what's the population of canada, you might ask me. somewhere between 50 thousand and 32.5 billion. i mean, i know that's not precisely the case, and i know i really ought to have at least a general idea (ok, i have the general idea that canada's population is roughly that of poland, which always freaks out north americans who cannot conceive of that many people living that close together: "what do you mean not everyone has their own lawn mower? how can they live in such barbarity!?"). still, when you have your own personal google-man next to you, in some areas you tend to stop thinking for yourself.*

add to that my complete inability to make my brain remember certain things (i once had to make up a file on my desktop entitled fennel.txt, because i could not, for the life of me, remember the name of fennel. why i needed to is beyond me, since i have only recently started using it in my kitchen, but the frustration was very very real.)

case in point: we have a purveyor of fine quality sausages in our neighbourhood. he is a handsome young man from the former yugoslavia. and here is where it ends. all i know is that he is from that there part of the world. which particular part of yugoslavia he is from escapes me completely. i know i once made a monumental faux pas by asking him if he was from one and he, rather gently, told me he was from the other. you know, as in the mortal enemy side. like i'd just asked a jew if he was a nazi german. or something. and you'd think that being mortified by this would have indelibly etched his ethnicity in my brain. no such luck. mr. monkey, a lover of history, has had to (repeatedly) give me a crash course in the who's who of the serbian/croatian/bosnian thing, and all i have managed to internalise so far is that the bosnians are (i'm certain i think probably possibly) muslim. and that's that. i know he's not bosnian. he's one of the other two. whatever he is, his sausages are amazing!

the thing is that i get so annoyed by the geographical/historical ignorance often exhibited by north americans ("belgium...that's in europe, right?"**) that i really hate exhibiting it myself. so i just buy my sausages and shut the hell up.

*and lest you think this is all one sided, just ask mr. monkey where the coffee grinder lives. no, really, ask him. he has NO idea.

**actual quote, i kid you not, from one studying education. another reason to be thankful for childlessness.


Country Gent said...

He may not know where the coffee grinder is but he wields a fine sock of soap, doesn't he?

the polish chick said...

yup. that he does. SPLAT!

Zhoen said...

D has a phenomenal memory for names. I've never been much good at it, and now, I'm terrible. He does the names, I pack the suitcases.

Anonymous said...

You know how some people can't remember faces and other people can't remember names. Well I can't remember either. This is a handicap in both my personal and professional life. When I go to a party Bill has to give me the who's who when we walk in, just so I don't introduce myself to someone I've already met three times.

the polish chick said...

ha! i have the same problem. that's why i drink: it provides a brilliant excuse.

as for my professional life, when i worked long term at an office it used to drive me nuts when people i thought were complete strangers asked me about my vacation or wedding or some such, when i could not, for the life of me, remember seeing them before, despite the damning evidence of my very own handwriting in their chart.

Lucy said...

Tom does faces, I do names. Another happy instance of the Jack Spratt syndrome at work. I would probably be incapable of recognising him if he presented himself in some other context than that in which I habitually know him, but he wouldn't remember what I was called, so we would both be equally incommoded.

I once stayed with a boyfriend long beyond the sell-by date partly because we were a deadly combo in Trivial Pursuit; I could do the art and lit segments while he filled in the sport ones. We were both fairly shit-hot at history and geography, and not bad at science.

How come you eat sausages?

the polish chick said...

i didn't eat anything with meat in it for almost a decade (well, that's a lie: i ate seafood routinely and felt vaguely badly about it both on the ecological and linguistic fronts, having always found the catholic "fish are not meat" dictate to be idiotic).

last year i started to eat meat again, which is kind of ironic given that i moved from a cow-centric province to a vegetarian-friendly one, but it's something i thought about long and hard.

my excuse is this: i eat meat rarely and i eat it only from ethical sources that can vouch for the meat (no factory farms for this carnivore). and yes, i do realise that animals are still killed, but that was never a problem for me, more the kind of life they led prior to their death.

does any of this make sense? or was it just a light question asked in passing that i took as a philosophical challenge? if so, then the answer is "because they's yummy!"

Lucy said...

Thanks, yes it was a proper question as when you said somewhere before 'no meat for more than a decade' or similar, I assumed it was the perfect tense you had elided - ie 'I have eaten no meat...' rather than the simple past 'I ate no meat...'. (I know I can say these things to you as you're a grammar nerd too).

That makes sense to me; all such choices involve compromise and contradiction, the best we can do is to think about it carefully and try to minimise the damage as best we can, I think. I respect vegans as being perhaps the most consistent but being human frankly precludes a clear conscience or a happy home on the moral high ground anyway.

I love as good sausage myself. Organic free-range pork costs more but is still inexpensive, and tastes better too.

the polish chick said...

vegans are incomprehensible to me. i love dairy so much that i cannot imagine a life with only the bitter taste of soygurt to keep me company.

also, i have yet to meet a vegan who is truly a vegan and not just a guilt-ridden vegetarian.

and so, i have finally decided to embrace a whole range of culinary choices. hurray for ethical organic free range sausage!