5 Things You Can Probably Do That I Can’t
Now that I’ve made myself sound a bit strange with my admission that I’m in serious danger of becoming a recluse, I thought I’d make myself sound even MORE weird, with this list of things that you can probably do that I can’t.
I briefly alluded to the existence of this list in my “Redheads Can’t Wear Pink” post, and I think some people assumed the list in question was redhead-specific. Of course, there’s really nothing redheads can’t do that other people can, so actually, this one is just about ME, and although there are thousands of things I can’t do, I’m talking here about the ordinary, everyday things – the kind of things most people do without even thinking about, but which remain elusive to me, even after years of trying. You won’t be surprised to know that I can’t wrestle alligators, for instance, or perform brain surgery, but you might be surprised to learn that I can’t…
Any time I attempt to clean a window, say, or a mirror, I can guarantee it will end up looking much, much worse than when I started. Like, it’ll start out with just a tiny smudge in the centre, and by the time I’m done with it, the whole THING will be a smudge. Seriously, I’ve lost entire days to the removal of one tiny smudge on a mirror. There I’ll be, walking by it, all innocence, when suddenly I’ll see it: THE SMUDGE. (Er, if you could imagine some horror-movie sound effects here, that would help make this point a bit more interesting, and bit LESS like an entire paragraph about cleaning glass…) “Hmm,” I’ll think to myself, “That mirror needs a clean. I’ll just give it a quick wipe over…”
Fast-forward to three hours later. I’m STILL in front of that mirror, and it’s STILL smudged, but now there are multiple smudges, and also a large collection of streaks, most of which have been caused by my ineffective attempts to try and clean it. I’ll also be wild-eyed and close to tears, and talking about how I’m going to RIP THIS MIRROR RIGHT OFF THE WALL AND THROW IT OUT OF THE WINDOW. Which… wait! Is that a smudge on the WINDOW?! And then the whole thing starts again. Entire days have been lost in this manner. I hate myself.
(P.S. Yes, I have read all of the advice about cleaning glass: the newspaper, and the vinegar, and all of the other many, many tried-and-true, idiot-proof ways to clean glass. I’ve even had my mum come round to try to teach me her ways. I. Just. Can’t. Do. It. It’s one of the great tragedies of my life that I’m completely obsessive about keeping things clean, but I’m not very good at actually cleaning them…)
CHANGE THE DUVET COVER
Seriously, putting a duvet inside its cover must surely be one of the biggest tests of a person’s patience there is? I bet it’s part of the NASA entrance test or something. They’ll be all, “OK, so you understand quantum physics, and a bunch of clever astronaut stuff, but let’s just see if you can put this duvet inside its cover!” It will come as no surprise to any of you that I wouldn’t get into NASA. Because I always end up with MYSELF inside the duvet cover, while the duvet itself sits on the bedroom floor, all smug.
Again, various people have tried to teach me how to do this, and, again, they have all failed. I’m fairly sure that if I ever get to heaven, I’ll be standing at the gates, and St Peter will say, “Well done, Amber, you’ve reached the final stage. Now, in order to get through these gates, I’m going to need you to neatly place this duvet inside its cover…” And then I’ll drop straight down to hell. (Where I will ALSO be required to spend all my time changing duvet covers, come to think of it…)
DRIVE ON THE MOTORWAY
I realise this one will make me sound even stranger than I normally sound, but I am terrified of driving on motorways, or any road where the traffic is moving really fast, and changing lanes all the time. I have literally come close to having a panic attack when attempting to do this, and I have NO IDEA how people do without thinking they’re about to meet their fiery death.
I drink wine. It just needs to be poured and drunk, and so that’s pretty much all I know how to do when it comes to alcoholic beverages. Terry makes great cocktails, but often when we have guests round, that particular task falls to me (Terry will be fulfilling the role of “entertainer”. I, meanwhile, get the role of “hired help”…), and that’s why most people leave our house drunk. Yes, we have those little measuring cup things. No, I don’t know where they are. At our house-warming party last year, I cheerfully provided people with such strong measures of vodka that my brother-in-law had to step in and take over before I actually killed someone.
My ineptitude with drinks also extends to hot beverages. You know when a bunch of people come into your house, and you ask them if they’d like a tea or coffee, and they all say “YES, PLEASE!” and then hit you with complicated drinks orders, involving half a spoonful of coffee, with three-quarters of a spoonful of sugar, and milk, but only if its a super-special type of milk you don’t have? That makes me want to cry. (Specifically, it makes me want to cry, “Just make it yourself, if you’re going to be THAT fussy about it!”)
Even when the orders themselves aren’t complicated, I can never remember who wanted milk/who didn’t, and who wanted sugar/how many, so the first thirty minutes of any conversation between Terry and our guests is always peppered with endless interruptions from me, saying, “Sorry, what did you all want again?” I’d have been a rubbish barista/cocktail waitress, that’s for damn sure.
(*It’s just occurred to me that what I SHOULD do is just put the milk and sugar on a tray, and let people help themselves. Coming up with solutions like this is probably another thing you can do, but I can’t…)
(Would it be weird for me to get out a notepad on these occasions, like an ACTUAL waitress? Yes. Yes it would, Amber…)
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?)
GUESS PEOPLE’S AGES
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, though, 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, of course, 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.
DO MY NAILS
I was born without the Nail Polish Application gene that so many women seem to have. 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.