A Few Things I’ve Never Figured Out


At the age of 57, I would have hoped that I would have figured out some fairly basic things by now, but unfortunately that is not the case.

I’m not sure if it’s a mental block or if I overthink some things that causes such ignorance, but I’m fairly certain that even after writing this blog today, a year from now I’ll still be just as confused by the following things.

  • How to use a washing machine. It just seems like there are way too many options. Cotton, perma-press, regular, delicates, knits; hot, warm, or cold water (for both rinsing and washing); small, medium, or large load; how long to set the timer for; what type of clothes can be thrown into the wash together, and which ones need to be kept separate. The end result of all this confusion? I think in 33 years of marriage, I have yet to do the laundry. Sometimes ignorance is bliss 🙂
  • How to cut a tomato slice. I am never quite sure when I want to slice a tomato if I am supposed to place the tomato flat on the cutting surface, or if I am supposed to place it on its side to cut a slice. Despite my wife having told me dozens of times how to do this, there’s still a 50% chance that I will get it wrong, even on back-to-back tomato slicing days…
  • What type of wine goes in the fridge, red or white, while the other is kept at room temperature. I tried to make up a mnemonic, like red goes in the fridge, since the letters to the word red are embedded in the word fridge. But to be honest, I can’t remember if that is right or not, and just like cutting a tomato slice, there’s always a 50% chance I will get it wrong. You can also probably guess how much wine I drink in a given year/lifetime.
  • All the different parts of a car. It took me a long time (mid-30s perhaps) to finally learn the difference between the battery, the radiator, and the engine. But there’s all that other stuff – axles, struts, starter, alternator, the fan belt, the radiator belt, the timing belt, rack and pinion, pistons, fender vs. bumper, distributor, brake shoe, camshaft, crankshaft. And even though I said I know what the battery is, unless there’s a big plus sign and a big negative sign on the battery, I’m never really sure how to attach a set of jumper cables. (But at least I knew where and what a dipstick was, and how it might be used to break into a locked car.)
  • How to say “chamomile”. Again, I’m just as likely to say the word with a hard c, like camel, as I am to make it sound like ShamWow. There are a lot of other words that confuse me, both from a pronunciation standpoint and from a usage standpoint. I’ll never understand when to use “whom” vs. “who”, and I’ve even spent time reading about the difference online. I think part of the problem may be hereditary. I remember one of the first times my girlfriend/future wife went out to dinner with my whole family. My dad decided to order some wine with dinner, and he told the waiter he would have a “car-fay” of red wine. I thought it was pretty cool that my dad knew so much about wine, and I was sure my girlfriend was suitably impressed. It was only later that night that my girlfriend, who was a cocktail waitress at the time, told me the word is “carafe”, like giraffe. Despite my dad’s gaf-fay, he knew every part of car, what they did, and how to fix them; I guess not everything is hereditary..
  • Using a rear view mirror in the car. I get confused when I look in a rear view mirror and I see a car pull onto the road behind me. It takes me quite a while to figure out which side of the highway that car came from, and I’m never really sure about my answer anyway.
  • Any type of dance that requires me to move my feet or any other part of my body. Enough said.
  • How to do the cups song. When I first saw Anna Kendrick in this music video doing the cups song, I was instantly mesmerized. Not only does she have an incredible voice, but it’s even more impressive that she was able to sing while doing all those intricate cup movements. I’ve watched the video numerous times (I’m not sure how many times, but let’s just say that if the NSA kept records of such things, it would be a huge embarrassment if Edward Snowden were to release those records, and my wife would start to question all the time I spend on the computer), and every once in a while I try to replicate some of the movements. I have yet to master the clapping followed by the tapping of my hands on a flat surface. I keep rewinding the video over and over to try and figure out, is it two hand taps, or three? Forget about adding cups at this point…
  • Recognizing Beyonce vs. Jennifer Lopez. If they were in a lineup together, it would be another 50-50 chance of picking which one is which. I like to categorize things, and these two people happen to fall into the category of beautiful women singers who are much younger than me. For items within the same category, my ability to differentiate is not that strong. That being said, that means I would be able to pick Justin Timberlake out of such a line-up (unless of course Adam Levine is also in the line-up). You see what I’m getting at?
  • Knowing the names of different flowers, plants, or trees. To me, there’s just flowers, plants, and trees, and that’s about all the distinction I make. I really do not know a rose from a carnation, or a pansy from a mum. I just call flowers by their color – red, yellow, purple. The same with trees – oak, hemlock, maple; too me they are just trees.

I could go on and on, since the world is often quite confusing to me. I’ve thought about possibly following up this blog with one where I talk about all the things that seem to come easy to me.

The problem with that idea is that I think lists need to have at least two bullet points…


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