I can, upon occasion, be quite disastrous domestically. (You guessed it; happy writing prompt day!) I’m one of those people who probably shouldn’t be allowed to play with fire. Or pointy objects. Or…well…anything domestic.
When I was seventeen, I was working on a Spanish project where I had to take a desk-size piece of paper and draw a house on it, and then label all of the items in the house with their proper Spanish names. At that point in my life, I was addicted to candles; I had one lit on each side of the paper I was working on. I decided that my time would be best utilized by trying to remember the vocabulary rather than pulling it out of the textbook, and I was bent over the paper in an extreme act of focus. I was so focused that I rotated the paper slightly as I went through the house labeling. Chances are good that I was wearing headphones. At one point, when I happened to look up, the entire right half of the paper was in flames. I was so sucked in to the work I was doing that I pushed the project right into my candle. Luckily, I was able to blow it out. And I turned the project in that way. I wrote a paragraph in Spanish as to how that part of the house had burned down in a fire. I thought it was quite creative. But maybe this is why I have a mysterious incomplete for that semester of Spanish…?
Another time, I was cooking something in the oven. Because I was super anal, I made sure that everything was away from the edges of the pan to avoid it bubbling over. (Plus, the oven we had at the time was pretty dirty.) I somehow managed to get my dinner in the bottom of the oven and cause a small fire catastrophe. To this day, I’m not sure how I managed that particular feat. In my brilliance, I grabbed the closest liquid; it happened to be soda rather than water. Soda sizzles quite a bit when you throw it on a fire, but doesn’t put out the flame all that quickly. Surprisingly, I still managed to get the fire out.
Most recently, I was cooking scrambled eggs. I hate to get a mess on the counter, and I’m too lazy to walk to the counter after breaking open each egg, so I got into the habit of laying out a sheet of paper towel on the counter. After I crack the eggs into my pan, I leave the empty shells on the paper towel to be thrown out once the eggs start cooking. I mixed in my cayenne pepper, turned around to get the rest of my garbage, and when I turned back realized that the sheet of paper towel had caught on fire. Yes, I left it hanging halfway across the gas burner. Whoops. In yet another moment of epic wisdom, I put out the fire by blowing on the paper towel repeatedly…even though I was standing right next to the sink.
I have turned Hamburger Helper orange, left the gas burner on, undercooked meat, forgotten to put the groceries in the fridge, and added the wrong ingredients to a dish. When I put my mind to it, I am downright disastrous and absent-minded. It’s funny, because I have the best memory when it comes to certain things. I remember birthdays; I remember holidays. I remember all of my major screw ups; I remember most of the things people say to me that are bad. I remember the good things people say too. And in three years, I’ll be able to tell you whether you wore an orange shirt today. Yet, I occasionally forget to shut off the burner or put the wrong red powder into a soup. I am smart as hell, but yet, I can be completely stupid. It’s amazing I haven’t burned down the house by now. All this to say, I believe these quirks keep me from fitting into one particular mold. But the good news is, I’m getting to a point in my life where I’m beginning to realize that this might not necessarily be bad. It’s normal to be incredibly smart, but still have areas where you fall short. It’s normal to not quite fit. It’s normal to be a little weird. And gosh, am I weird. If this writing prompt response isn’t evidence of that, I don’t know what is.
Here’s the thing. Smart people can make bad decisions. It doesn’t make them any less smart. It just means that they made a mistakes. And those mistakes are the things that make each of us different from everybody else. Life is a process of learning to be okay with our differences.
If it makes me special, I guess I’m okay with setting a fire every now and again.