I have been labeled “smart” my entire life, and without getting into the details of why I think that “smart” is not a very accurate label for what people are seeking to describe when they call a child smart (sharp, bright, curious, attentive, perceptive, precocious are all better labels in my opinion), I have pretty much accepted myself as a “smart” person (at least in the sense that I can memorize and regurgitate information in a manner that gets me As–and some B+s, to my chagrin).
Still, over time and my interactions with people, I have noticed that there are some things about simply functioning in the real world that my brain just does not cognitively process. I truly do not understand:
I don’t get it. I don’t get why there’s so much of it. I don’t get why they send it every day. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do with it when I get it. I don’t know where to put it. I can’t keep the fact that it exists as something valid and important in my mind long enough to open it but if I do open it and it is actually valid and important and not a tree-killing coupon book then I still immediately forget it exists while at the same time putting it somewhere in my apartment where it manages to multiply on its own.
Yet I’ve been to other people’s homes and they almost never seem to be overrun with mail. Why is this? How do people handle mail?
2. The accumulation of stuff in general.
This pretty much harkens back to the mail thing. Listen. My whole apartment complex, which is like 16 units, are all one bedroom, and I’ve been in two of my neighbors’ places. Their apartments, which are all similar to mine in size and layout, possess a very reasonable space-to-stuff ratio.
Then there’s my place, which is just crammed with stuff. I don’t get it. How do people manage to not have all this stuff? Even stuff like clothes….I have probably literally one zillion pieces of clothing. I give away bags of it like every couple of months yet I always have one zillion items of clothing. Where does it come from? How do I make it so that I don’t have it?
3. How anything in my possession eventually gets destroyed
People keep things for years. This is a fact. And yet, anything in my possession begins to immediately undergo a process of destruction. This also seems to be a fact. Pieces of my lap top fall off regularly. I wish I were making this up. It’s expensive and weird and unnerving. I don’t know how to not destroy stuff.
4. How to both answer texts and interact with the people in the room
Seriously. My brain does not know how to do this. If I am texting you back, I am alone. That’s a fact. Because I don’t know how to both answer texts and converse with real people in real time. I cannot hold those two thoughts in my mind; I will not answer the text. Because if I do, then I will totally disconnect from the people in the room. It’s so weird. I’ve been around other people as they both used their phones and interacted with me. It seems seamless. Sometimes I don’t even notice they’re using their phones. I can’t split my attention like that. I just can’t.
So anyway, those are some things I just don’t know how to cognitively process.