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More Things You Can Probably Do That I Can’t

(I also apparently saw fit to illustrate that post with a blurry mirror selfie of myself. Oh blogging, how you’ve changed!)

Anyway, today I bring you an update on that post, in the form of five MORE things you can probably do that I can’t. Because there’s absolutely no limit to my ineptitude, apparently. Before we get into that, though, I bring you a slightly more positive update (which you’ll have to read that older post in order to understand. Go and do it now. It’s OK, we’ll all just wait here for you…): guys, I CAN CLEAN GLASS NOW! Well, sort off. See, not long after I wrote that post, I discovered e-cloths, and they literally (but not literally) saved my life. (Actually, Sarah told me about them: who says blogging can’t change the world?)

I wouldn’t say my glass-cleaning is perfect these days, but it’s definitely a whole lot better than it was: like, if I try to clean a mirror, say, it’ll only end up slightly dirtier than it was before, as opposed to being so much dirtier that I’m tempted to just throw it away now, which is what used to happen. Progress, people! And if I keep on making progress at this rate, I’d estimate that I’ll reach full adulthood at the age of around 90-ish. So that’s something to look forward to, no?

OK, positive update over: the bad news is that I still can’t drive on the motorway without having a panic attack, change the duvet cover, or mix drinks. And now there are even MORE things I can’t do, too. Things like…

applying nail polish


Like, if you were to say to me, “Oh, it’s about 500 metres away,” for instance, that would mean absolutely nothing to me.  I know what a metre is, obviously: I just can’t for the life of me visualise what 500 of them would look like, all laid out together. I’m better with miles, because I guess they have more context to me – as in, I can think to myself, “OK, that’s like the distance from here to the main street/London/America/whatever,” but any other unit of measurement is totally lost to me. Confusingly, where I live, people will often use units I have no knowledge of whatsoever: so, I grew up with the metric system, for instance, but people always seem to be giving me distances in yards, and I’m just like, “WHAT IS THAT I CAN’T EVEN.” (See also: people who give prices in “old money”and are all, “Yeah, it cost me five bob!” THE HELL?! What is a “bob”? Why are you talking like that? Have we gone back in time? Whhhhyyy?)


Honestly, guessing people’s ages is a truly horrible thing to do, and if I was Queen, I would totally make it illegal, not even joking. Terry has a really annoying habit whereby, any time we find ourselves interacting with young children, he’ll be all, “What age do you think Auntie Amber is?!” (Even if I am not the child’s auntie, interestingly…), and no amount of me kicking him in the shin, fixing him with a death glare, and hissing, “I WILL KIIIIIILLLLLL YOOOOOOUUUUUUU!” has made him stop this. And, obviously, little kids are absolutely useless at guessing ages, so they’ll cheerfully estimate mine as being anything from 5 to 500 (I’m going to just go ahead and assume that this is, indeed, because little kids are useless at this, and NOT because I actually look like I could be 500 years old…), which is hilarious, but also occasionally awkward.

The fact is, though, I can’t really criticise them for it, because I’m not much better, and if anyone ever asks me what age I think they are (Which happens bizarrely often, actually. WHY DO PEOPLE DO THIS TO ME? It’s such a weird thing to ask someone! Seriously, isn’t that a weird thing to ask someone? Like, don’t you already KNOW what age you are?), I will have absolutely NO IDEA at all. Seriously, most people could be either 20 or 60 as far as I’m concerned, and neither would particularly surprise me.


I’m taking about walls here, by the the way, not, like, watercolours and landscapes or whatever, although it has to be said, I can’t do that either. Seriously, though, who can’t paint a wall? Er, this girl, that’s who.  I learned this fact during our recent kitchen/downstairs remodel, during which I painted the entire house white, and then Terry had to do it all again. One day, just after I’d done the hall, my parents came round for a look at the kitchen, and when my mum stepped into the hallway, she said, “Oh my, you’ve really done… a job!” Says it all, really, doesn’t it?


I’d like to think I COULD probably follow instructions if I really tried… so maybe it’s just trying to follow instructions I’m bad at? All I know is that, if something comes with instructions, I will normally take them out of the box, glance at them, think, “Nah, not even going there!” and then try to work out how to use the thing myself, rather than just taking the few minutes it would require to quickly read through the instructions. I have no idea why I do this.


Last week I was lucky enough to receive a gorgeous selection of nail polish samples  – samples which, unfortunately somewhat wasted on me  because I totally lack the Nail Polish Application gene that so many women are born with. More than that, I can’t even shape my nails properly, let alone paint them: I like to keep them short (I love the look of long nails, but can’t stand the feel of them!), which you’d think would make it relatively easy to keep them nice and neat, but nope, can’t do it – mine always look like I’ve taken a hacksaw to them or something. Why can’t I perform this simple task that millions of people (probably) do every day? I have no idea – as my strangely misshapen nails prove.

Anyone want to make me feel better by revealing some of the things you can’t do?


What do you think?

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  • Antonia
    May 24, 2017

    The completely grok with the first one! During the 2008 Olympics, I embarrassed myself in front of a group of friends by turning to them and asking if 100 metres was FAR. I just had… no idea. And only a few months ago, someone had to walk me through buying a throw as I had NO COMPREHENSION of what the sizes I was reading meant in real terms. It was a long game of: “so it’s like a single bed size? Or bigger? No – smaller? But what?”. Terrible. I have actually heard this problem is related to those who aren’t great with maths and have problems distinguishing left and right, too. Which, yes, is something I still have problems with – so there’s my confession 🙂

    • Amber
      May 24, 2017

      Ah, that would make sense – I’m terrible at maths, and will sometimes take a second or two to work out left from right ?

      • Ally
        May 25, 2017

        I’m good at math and horrible at estimating distances. I’ve memorized certain common sizes/lengths and that’s how I deal. “It’s a 6’x4′ rug “- gotcha. “It’s a 7’x5′ rug” – those numbers mean nothing to me, nothing! You might as well have said “it’s a blue by Shakespeare rug” because that’s how much sense it makes to me.

  • Catherine McCraw
    May 24, 2017

    I can’t use plastic wrap, it just wads up into a ball. My family hands it to me and laugh. I can’t cook greens-mustard, collards, turnips-everyone in the deep south eats them boiled. I just end up with mush. I can’t fix my hair, if I put stuff in it all is good until half and hour is gone by or I go out in the humidity and boom it is flat. Catherine in south Mississippi

    • Amber
      May 24, 2017

      Same with the plastic wrap – why is it so hard?!

  • Anna International
    May 24, 2017

    Oh me too Antonia! I am terrible at maths, like embarrassingly so. Got straight As in everything else at school without much trying, worked my backside off at maths and was amazed and delighted to get a B (everyone but my maths teacher was disappointed in me for that). I still have no idea how I did it, and I feel like whenever numbers are involved my brain just goes into meltdown. And I still get left and right confused too – my husband never trusts me when giving driving directions because he knows I am useless, but weirdly, I am good at map-reading and can get L and R correct then! So odd.

  • Fi
    May 24, 2017

    I can’t do distances in kilometres. Miles, yes. Anything up to about 400 metres, yes (I just visualise the instrument of torture that was the running track at school). But how far 5k is? No idea at all.

    I also can’t blow up balloons.

  • Anita
    May 24, 2017

    the nails thing, yeah. just the same. I’ve loved nail polish since I was a teenager but despite 20 years of using it, I am still rubbish at doing my hands (especially my left hand -I am left handed). I treat myself to gel nails every now and then as it’s the only way I can ever have nice glossy nails! I’m really surprised to see you say this Amber as your nails always look so lovely in photos -so do you get them done professionally?

    • Amber
      May 24, 2017

      Oh, thank you for saying that! No, I don’t get them done professionally – I just try not to get the camera too close to them in photos!

  • I can’t file or paint my nails too. My nails are ALWAYS blunt, and I like it that way. More convenient anyway.

    Charmaine Ng
    Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

  • Anna
    May 24, 2017

    Don’t worry–I’m horrible at all of these things too, AND I can’t clean glass! It’s good to know that I’m not the only one!

  • Kanchan Mahon
    May 24, 2017

    I can’t make out directions, or indeed find my way around the 3-D world. Such as, I’ve worked in this building for 7 mos, why do I always take a left outside the conference room when my office is to the right? I’ve gotten
    lost in a convenience store for goodness sake!

  • kerry
    May 24, 2017

    Oh I have many things I cant do. One f them being follow directions. We had a little holiday lodge that we owned for 10 years and drove to it almost every weekend for about 5 of them. I still do not know my way to that damn place. Its ridiculous. I also cannot blowdry the back of my hair and look in a mirror. It makes it a weird perspective and I just miss my hair with the brush. Weird??

    • Amber
      May 24, 2017

      I can normally find my way to places if I’ve visited them often enough, but if someone tries to give me directions, I’ll be quite literally lost! And if someone asks me for directions, then heaven help them: even if I know how to get there myself, I find it *so* hard to explain it to someone else!

  • Sophie
    May 24, 2017

    Oh god, the distance thing – exactly the same, I can just about visualise what a metre is but beyond that I cant get it. If someone said ‘about 20 metres away’ or something I would have no idea how far ahead to look, it just baffles me…even for smaller amounts, like last night I saw a komodo dragon in indonesia on the tv and I said “I’ve been there and seen those!” and my flatmate said “how big were they?” and I was just like “………….big”. Flatmate: “What like 2 metres?” Me: “……..yep.”
    Sophie xxx

    • Amber
      May 24, 2017

      I’m so glad I’m not the only person who’s like this – my family always find it so weird that I never know what they’re talking about if it’s something that involves distances!

  • Myra Boyle
    May 24, 2017

    I can do distances in miles and metres, but I can’t cut in a straight line no matter how small the thing is I’m trying to cut with either scissors or a knife. You should see my bread.

    I can’t keep nail polish on, as soon as I’ve done it a tiny chip appears, then I have to start scraping it off, destroying my nail in the process. Then the next and the next until I look like a cat has chewed my fingers.

  • Steph
    May 24, 2017

    I cannot click my fingers. Pretty much everyone I’ve ever met is convinced that I actually can and that they will be the one to help me discover the skill – they have all failed miserably! I swear I’m doing it right, my fingers just won’t make the right noise!!

    • Amber
      May 24, 2017

      Ha, I can do it with my right hand, but not with the left – and I can’t whistle, either: I just produce a pathetic little *peep*!

  • Sarah Rooftops
    May 24, 2017

    Why, thanks for the shout out!

    I remember applying for home insurance for my last place and the person on the other end of the line asking if it was within however-many yards (40? 50?) of water and I had NO IDEA. “Uh… it’s near a harbour but… up a hill? On the fourth floor? So… no?”

  • ashes
    May 24, 2017

    Lets see I cant—

    – Wistle
    – Paint my nails ( i try the tricks, they look bad allways) I also just keep them cliped short because ugh.
    – Not super great with dreictions or distances.
    – Fold fitted bedsheats (they just end up in a wadded ball yay!) Ive never tried to put a duvet in a cover, but im sure id suck at that too.
    – Cook most red meat, It scares me to death. If im the one left to cooking, please only fish, chicken or some sort of ground meat.
    – Lift anything over 20 lb with my arms. I have stupid weak arms.

    Hmm im sure there is more…
    Love ya! Ashes.

  • Tammy
    May 25, 2017

    I can’t measure and cut anything. You know the saying “measure twice, cut once”? I can measure the space five times, measure what I’m cutting five times and when I cut it, it will still be either half-an-inch too long or half-an-inch too short. And usually, it’s half-an-inch too short, because if it’s too long, you can shave a little off and make it work. But if it’s too short, you’re in serious trouble. I can measure things without cutting, or cut things that don’t need to be measured without incident. It’s the wretched combination of measuring AND cutting that’s the problem. As a result, I am perfectly useless at sewing, carpentry (especially carpentry), most all crafts and gift wrapping.

  • Amy K
    May 25, 2017

    I can’t give driving directions, not even to a place I’ve driven a million times. Not even to my own house. I’m completely oblivious to street names and exit numbers and whether the destination is north or east or whatever, so I’ll try to tell someone how to get somewhere and it sounds like, “Go down the highway until you reach the exit by a McDonald’s, then make a left, then look for a big tree and make a right just past it, then keep driving for a while until you see three beige houses kind of near each other, but not too near…” etc. It’s equally bad when someone tries to give me driving directions. I hear “head east on Main, then drive two blocks and go north on 175th,” and it might as well be Farsi. The invention of GPS was a godsend.

  • Angie
    May 25, 2017

    I’m also terrible with distances, even though I’m pretty good with math. I also can’t estimate particularly well. If I am asked “how many people were there?” and I haven’t actually counted noses, I have no idea: maybe 20, maybe 100 – it’s all the same to me.

  • Rosie
    May 27, 2017

    Totally with you on visualising distances – I have no concept at all. This means I’m quite dangerous when crossing roads too – I have zero spacial awareness so will wait if a car’s some distance away but make a run for it if I could easily get hit. How I’m still alive is a miracle, frankly. I can’t wrap presents. Even easy things, like CDs and books, they always end up looking like my dog wrapped them.

  • Emerald
    May 28, 2017

    Listen to more than one thing at once! But I’m going to have to get used to it when I start my new job in two weeks as I will have teachers, foreign students and their group leaders all asking me things at once, no doubt. I’ve done it before, but it’s a skill I’ve lost over the past year. Help!!

    • Emerald
      May 28, 2017

      Oh, and I’m pretty awful at sketching buildings. Landscapes, sky, sea, clouds, fine – houses, etc are a challenge. My other half is also an artist and this is his particular skill, so he’s taught me a lot.

  • Lindzi
    May 30, 2017

    I can’t swim. Or do maths in my head above 5x tables. Or understand percentages AT ALL. I will always have to google it. I’m pretty good with distances though and very good with directions.

  • Sarah B
    May 31, 2017

    Haha! What an excellent list! One thing I can’t do is walk and drink something at the same time. I suppose that may be common, but if it’s anything in a cup, glass or plastic bottle, I need to stop walking or I’ll either choke or pour water all over myself! Haven’t tested with straws but imagine those are fine… perhaps it’s the head angle throwing me off? A mystery…. 😉

  • What Lou Wore 365
    May 31, 2017

    Push ups. Or pull ups. I can run for hours on end but have zero upper body strength. See also, swim more than 3 lengths of a regular sized sports centre pool before my arms turn to jelly.

  • Raquel
    June 10, 2017

    ahh love this post.

    I have a ‘superb’ inability to follow GPS/Google map coordinates. I tend to get lost a looooot 🙂 but it’s not that bad, it gives the opportunity to explore new paths and discover new things on my way to the right route.

    Raquel xx

  • Miss Kitty
    June 14, 2017

    Ha! Maybe we need to start a support group for people who can’t visualise distances! I always thought it was just me, because I was the only person I knew who had trouble comprehending how far something is. If you tell me something is 2km down the road, I will probably keep driving to the next city, I have no idea how far 2km is. It could be to the moon and back for all I know! So glad to find I’m not alone in this after all!

    Other things I can’t do? Eye liner without making myself look like a clown. I would love to be able to do beautiful cat eye liner but I always end up looking like a drunk monkey applied it 🙁 I can’t take off jar lids that are tight. I also can’t resist buying cute shoes if I see them 🙂 That’s not something that bothers me though! I never used to be able to put duvets back in the covers until I saw a video on YouTube with a trick how to do it, and now it’s a cinch.