|In which I enumerate (some of) my faults
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
- I’m constitutionally incapable of remembering birthdays. Other than my own and the bloke’s - most of the time. I always have to think through the year of his, though. (“He’s younger than me. How much younger? Ah yes, X years. That makes it 19yy. No, 19zz. Um…”) I even recently forgot my daughter’s and I gave birth to her. Last year. (“There’s a scheduling conflict on that date? I don’t have anything in my work diary.” I had to ask the bloke why it was a problem.)
As a result, I have no friends who become narked off when I don’t remember their birthdays. Presumably because the people who do decide never to talk to me again after the first time I commit this particular faux pas.
- I’m a very bad liar. Perhaps you don’t think it’s a bad thing that I’m incapable of covering my ass when I’ve done something hurtful, but it certainly is a bad thing not to be able to tell convincing white lies. (“No no, of course that’s not a terrible haircut.” Nope. Can’t do it. The best I can do is laugh uneasily and mutter something about how hair always grows back.) I also think that it devalues my sincerity, as I’m not doing it out of moral fortitude. I’m doing it because the only other option is causing even greater offense when I’m found out, which will happen anywhere between 0.000005 and 0.005 seconds later.
- I have no natural facility with any language other than English. This is one of my biggest regrets. I wish I’d learnt Tagalog or Ilocano as a child. I wish I’d shown enough interest in it for my dad to teach me at least the rudiments of either. I’m too old now for it to be anything other than a massive uphill struggle to learn, and I’m not focused enough (see next fault) to pursue it properly. So it’ll probably remain an unrepaired fault forever.
- I’m a dilettante. I’ve never managed to specialise in any intellectual endeavour enough to consider myself an expert. (Unfortunately for my self-perception, my metric for this is “spend five years doing a PhD and still think that isn’t long enough to study something properly because we discovered two years later that one of my chapters was wrong”.) I’m pretty good at multiple things but not brilliant at any of them, and I don’t have the dedication to do difficult things for long enough to fix that. I’m lazy, but in the peculiar way that makes it look like I’m not because I’m always doing something. It’s just not usually the optimal thing for me to be working on.
- I’m emotionally avoidant. Oh, I talk easily enough about the things I can turn into a funny blog post. But anything I can’t cope with? I’ll stick my head in the sand until it goes nuclear. I have resigned myself to the idea that this is a pattern I shall repeat, although it is encouraging that the intervals between Bites In Ass that this tendency provokes seem to be getting longer as I get older.
- I know my flaws better than I know my strengths.
These are, of course, only the faults of which I’m aware and have had time to reconcile myself with to a certain degree. I’m sure there are many others, but as I desire to preserve at least a few shreds of self-respect, I shall thank my friends not to spell all of them out now. Save it until I send your next belated birthday card.
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