No street smarts. Moderate book smarts.

I’m slowly trying to get back into this because the suffocating ego-smash that is job searching makes me hate my computer and doing this will get us back to par. So I’m going to tell you random stories.

I have almost zero street smarts. I’m not going to call it common sense because I know not to do things like put aluminum in the microwave or drink bleach or things like that. I did smoke up the whole kitchen tonight but I think there was a little grease splatter on the broiler. I’m not going to count that. What I lack is the ability to understand or maybe empathize with other humans. Is this psychopathic? Sociopathic? We may never know but it has been hotly debated. So I get into situations. Are they comical? Are they sad? I don’t care.

Outside of physics, I’m fairly intelligent. My fourth grade teacher even noted in my record that I am “possibly gifted.” Everyone finds that amusing. Well it’s not so funny when I’m torching your ass in Jeopardy so whatever. There’s almost no practical use of the weird facts I have retained but sometimes it’s funny, like a stupid pet trick. I can also help you strategize, communicate, relate publically, and so on. But please don’t ask me to use emotions. And I enjoy a good aerospace nerd-out.

So now let’s pretend I am on a business trip with a group of colleagues. Half of us spent a week waiting for an event. Another group joined us later in the week for said event. Event is a success! Hurray! Let’s go to dinner and celebrate. As we met in the lobby of the hotel to rally, I noticed one of the guys was not wearing his wedding ring and was also dressed like a dork: plain t-shirt, shorts, tall white socks, athletic shoes. This was my exact thought: “it’s too bad that Guy is dressed like a dork and is divorced now!”


Sad, right? I sit across from coworker (let’s call him Ted) and next to Guy at dinner. Everyone is happy! Chat chat chat! Our waitress was a lovely younger gal and Guy was really being flirty with her. Ha, that’s funny. Ted is asking me weird questions and kicks me under the table. What a klutz! After dinner the group splits in half: lame-o’s go to bed, the rest of us have a nightcap at the hotel bar. I’m having a good time chatting with these coworkers because I don’t get to work with them often and it is good to get some networking done and IS GUY’S HAND ON MY KNEE!??! WHAT DO SALLY AND BILL THINK OF THIS??!! DO THEY THINK I APPROVE OF THIS??!! DO THEY NOTICE??!! So now I have to drop in the awkward “Oh yeah, my BOYFRIEND likes that show” etc. Guy gets it. Back in the office after the trip I confide in Ted about this. “YEAH, stupid! That’s why I was asking you all those questions about Major at dinner. Didn’t you notice that I kicked you at one point? He was flirting with you the whole time.” K8 fail. Ted ran point for my human interactions after that. Also of note, GUY IS NOT DIVORCED. Took off the ol’ ring.

Our new location is southern and it gets hotter than hell here. I’m from Buffalo. I am not made for any temperature over 75 really. As part of my bored housewife routine I was making weekly trips to Michael’s for craft items. Every time I was there I would find something and think “what the hell would you ever use that for?” and be right back to buy it two weeks later. As I was heading back to the car one spicy afternoon, I was approached by a man selling items to pay for him to go to school to be an addiction counselor, I think. He had a good story: was in a foster home when he was young, got reunited with his dad later in life then quit school to take care of his dad when he got sick. He looked unfortunate: about 6 feet tall, 110 pounds, not all his teeth. But he was very charismatic. And I felt guilty. It was like 3 pm in the middle of the week and I was buying craft paper or some unnecessary shit.

He showed me a long list of things I could purchase and I settled on The Atlantic magazine. I like to buy it when I’m at the airport and I had/have free time now. “Ok so just bill me, right?” This is where my stupidity could not be stopped. “Well, I actually need cash, at least 50% of the total. Here’s the statement from the company that says this isn’t a scam…” and he showed me a disclaimer from a company saying they were ethical, this wasn’t a rip off, etc. “I don’t have any cash on me though.” He looked devastated. He was good. “Ok, I’ll tell you what – I need some things from Target. I will go across the street and get the cash and bring it back to you. Ok?” IS ANYONE STILL WITH ME AT THIS POINT IN THE STORY? I get in my car. I drive across the street. I buy things I actually need PLUS two waters (one for me and one for him because he was sweating buckets in his parking lot swindle scheme) AND I bought him a cheap pack of pens because he only had one and he had to dig around to find it. I could only get $40 in cash back. As I was walking out of the store, I saw him walking in. I gave him the water, pens, and cash and he wrote a receipt where I could send a check for the remaining balance and kept saying “bless you, ma’am” over and over. Look, here’s how I look at it – it’s HIS bad karma if he was lying to make a few bucks. I was just trying to help someone out. And it was $80 I was going to probably spend on boxed wine or fucking paper rosettes or something weird.

I recently found the receipt and went to the website to see if I could contact them to ask about my subscription. It was a very vague webpage that said my magazine would arrive in 90-120 days. It’s been six months now. My sister made a valid point that maybe the company ripped HIM off. I hope not. I would prefer if no one ripped anyone off and I got my damn magazine. Until then, every day I check the mailbox with hopeful anticipation that there is good in the world and The Atlantic will be there.


It’s time for Conan now. Bye.

No street smarts. Moderate book smarts.

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