You know, I look at myself in the mirror about twice a day, for just a few seconds. Long enough to point the toothbrush at my teeth and go. Or look to see that the soap is all rinsed off.
If I put on makeup, that total goes up to about a minute.
But I've been doing this for so many years that I honestly have NO IDEA what I look like to you. I know what I look like to me, but I'm so used to me, I don't see myself in context with the rest of you.
I'm not asking for opinions here on my looks, I don't need the peanut gallery today. I'm just commenting on how odd it is that I can recognize the features, beauty, character and ineffable other stuff -- in any face but mine.
Strange thing happened.
Monday marked the 8th time in my life I've been called scary smart.
I'm really not.
I think it's just that I'm good at communicating what's in my head, I think things through and I HAVE BIG BUGGY EYES.
Mostly the big buggy eyes.
So, anyway, I went over to do the mandatory meet 'n' greet with the lil' sister's boyfriend's family. (Too many apostrophes in that last sentence.)
Awkward. There is a kind of "I'm practically genetically the same as the chick who is boinking your precious baby boy" vibe going around that room, so I try to break that up, by chatting with his momma and we talked mostly about babysitting or France or something. It totally was not terribly intellectual. I may or may not have mentioned work.
Libs told me later that I scared his mom with how intelligent I was.
Really? ME? I mean, ME?!
Where do I give off the Christopher Walken, Einstein, Mozart, brainy "this closing to snapping" kind of vibe? What about me says "so smart, she's DANGEROUS!"?
Either she's seeing something I'm not, or she simply didn't know what to do with our communication in that awkward circumstance.
I don't get it?
I get such totally mixed reactions.
OK, here's the other end of that particular spectrum. I'm sometimes babied through things with the assumption that I can't do them.
HIM: "OK. I'm gonna hold this thing HERE and you hold the other thing, that thing THERE, until I tell you when. Then you hand it to me. Keep your sleeves away from there, we don't want to make sparks, do we shugar?"
ME: "It wouldn't make sparks. It would just complete the circuit. Do you need me to hold the media card away from the housing at the same time so you don't damage it while the power fluxuates?"
HIM: "Hmm? Sure, sure. Alright, here goes, missy. You ready?"
Last week or something like that, I'm out at my car, fixing on my plates, when a guy walks by and comments how wonderful it is that I can attach a license plate to my car. He comments on what I'm doing and then says "you can really handle yourself there, can't ya?"
He said it kind of like i'm a little tiny kid that he's praising. He did the bending down, hands-on-knees thing even.
OK. What's so special about it? Phillips screwdriver, pre-drilled holes in both car and plate. Four holes, four screws. Righty tighty. Done. Pretty darn simple.
Maybe it's not that he thought it was remarkable. Maybe he just thought it was remarkable for a woman to do this... I'm not sure.
Would he have done this to a guy? Probably not.
I think I mentioned the ax purchase last year. Or was it a hammer or something? Where I got praised for buying one by a stranger. Not in the "smart choice in hammers" kind of way, but in the "amazing that she can stand up straight with those round heels long enough to buy a hammer" kind of way. Checked out my ass on the way out. I felt like it was 1960 all that day. Creep.
Anyway, back to the point.
Sometimes I'm "scary smart" to a person I never would have thunk. Sometimes I am coddled, as though merely tying my shoes is amazing and praiseworthy. Some people treat me as difficult, super intense, or problematic. Some people act as if I'm a special treat to have around, and I've made their day just by showing up.
I get such WIDELY varied and different reactions. I honestly don't know (or really care, beyond passing comments like these) WHAT the world sees me like. But I do like to see what specific PEOPLE in that world are seeing. It simply baffles me not to understand what general impression I give off.
But I am very, very glad that I get polarized, opinionated, non-boring responses. The general concensus appears to be that I'm odd. The general reaction to my existence appears to be that Desi raises emotional, heartfelt and communicative response. Whatever that may be.
And that's FINE by me, mister.