Sunday, January 17, 2010

Four Verbals Sit Down to Brunch, or The Joy of Admitting Your Weaknesses

This morning I went to breakfast at Sugar Magnolia's in Gloucester with three good friends. Sugar Magnolia's is one of the best places to have breakfast-ever. We made bad puns, insulted each other, discussed Cohen brothers movies and stuffed our faces. And then the bill came.

We all had twenties and worse, we were all Verbals. I suggested that we just split the bill and was surprised to see one of my friends (who's appallingly smart about languages) jump on the solution with alacrity. (As did everyone else.) All of the people at the table were smart-I'm not even doing myself a disservice to say that they were all smarter than me. But we were all Verbal people-not Math people.

It didn't matter (and I admit I've been scratching my head about this for a while because, no pun intended, it doesn't add up) that two of us were Techies. That just meant that we were smart enough to put a shortcut to the calculator on our task bars.

Why am I bothering to write this up? Well It's a long standing tradition than when my friend E and I eat dinner, we have a lovely time and then..we have to figure out the bill. Brows are wrinkled. Suddenly we feel 75% less smart than we did two minutes ago. I had always figured that part of that was the befuddlement of good food and the fact that we both can be a bit ditzy.

But today I got confirmation of something that I had begun to suspect. It isn't that the two of us were too flaky to deal with the bill-It's just that well, we're verbal people. She's a poet and I read slightly less than I breathe. Our brains are designed to parse words-not numbers.

And that's okay. It's okay to admit a weakness if it really shows a strength. It's okay to admit that I/we "can't do x because we can do y." So although I am laughing at the four of us a little, I don't mind the fact that two MFAs, an MBA candidate and appallingly good linguist couldn't figure out how to split the bill.

For the record, it was the MBA candidate who chose the appropriate, practical response (let's just split it four ways). That bodes well for my future.

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