Incompetence (in certain areas at least) comes natural to me. Those areas invariably involve advanced technology, although for a disturbing moment yesterday, I was sitting in my parked car, unable to open the door.
Dr. M needed a photograph taken, and I was assigned a new iPhone to take it with. We went out onto the back porch, she posed herself appropriately, I raised the phone-camera into position, and I immediately said,
“I can’t see you.”
She stepped forward and turned the phone-camera around.
And then I could.
For the next fifteen minutes, I attempted to take an acceptable picture of her. And I repeatedly failed to do so. Her face was in shadows, so moved into the sun, where the brightness bleached out her physiognomy entirely.
Sometimes, the picture was all right, but I could see my shadow, outlined near the bottom of the frame.
We tried half sun-half-shade, but the result looked like a black-and-white cookie with a face on it. I suggested shooting her under a large umbrella, with enough light for her to be recognizable, but not so much that she was obliterated by the sun. That one was okay, except for the umbrella pole’s darkened reflection, extending the length of the picture, giving the appearance of a prisoner in a jail cell with one bar.
Fortunately, we were laughing throughout this photographic misadventure, rather than seeking the services of divorce lawyers. And for that, I am appreciative and grateful.
At some point during this fiasco, however, it occurred to me that I was tired of writing about the things I can’t do (the most recent one being my inability re-calibrate the “wake-up” setting my CD-clock radio and my subsequent decision to purchase another one.)
I have decided to take a mid-post break (why wait?) from my ubiquitous “personal incompetence” anecdotes and instead write something more positive. Not something positive I did. That would be asking too much of this regular blog writer. Who knows when my next positive accomplishment will arrive? I have settled instead for the next best thing: Something positive that happened to me.
Though it starts with a negative. I can't be too positive. You'll think someone hijacked my blog.
Continuing my search for an acceptable “gluten free” pizza, we visit a neighborhood restaurant, which we have frequented before, but they just recently started offering “gluten free.”
“You have ‘gluten free’ pizza now, right?” I confirm with the waitress, after she has taken Dr. M’s order.
“We do,” she replies.
“I’ll have a ‘gluten free’ white pizza, half mushroom and half fennel.”
The waitress responds to my order with a nod, and departs.
Twenty-five minutes later, the waitress returns with two pizzas, setting one down in front of Dr. M, the other, before me.
I bite into the pizza, and it’s great. I report that the “gluten free” is indistinguishable from the regular pizza. My reaction is reinforced by comparing my pizza’s crust with Dr. M’s. You could barely tell them apart.
Which makes me happy, but then, almost immediately, suspicious. (With a soupcon of embarrassment.)
Our waitress drops by for the obligatory, “How’s everything tasting?”
“This is ‘gluten free’, right?” I inquire.
The waitress flicks an eye to the remnants of my pizza.
“You wanted ‘gluten free’?” (As if I had not mentioned that twice – once in my inquiry, and again in my order?)
I just stare at her.
“Are you allergic, or something?”
“Well, I am not going to fall down,” I assure her. But I am not at all happy. (With her, or with myself, for not instantly determining that my “gluten free” pizza tasted just like a regular pizza because it was not a “gluten free” pizza.)
Now here comes the good part. Which arrived after her first apology.
“Would you like another pizza?”
My annoyance, clouding my clear thinking, leads me to reply,
“I’m not hungry anymore.”
What she meant, of course, was another pizza to take home. (Which I assumed, and was correct in my assumption, would be free and “gluten free.”) I had not as yet tasted their “gluten free” pizza – and that had been the entire purpose of our going there – so I responded in the affirmative.
We waited another twenty-five minutes. (Hey, we were getting a free pizza!)
When the waitress returned with my complimentary “gluten free” pizza, she apologized a second time, and, to underscore her remorse, took an unexpected next step.
“Would you like a cookie?”
Complementing the free pizza we were already receiving.
“Is it ‘gluten free’?” I inquire.
It was not, so I turned it down. Smiling inwardly at this waitress’s inability to internalize the concept.
Both things happened on the same day, the botched photographic effort and the botched though later effusively repaired pizza order. It was comforting to experience another person messing up.
But for some reason, it is more enjoyable when it’s me.
Though – and the “Memo To Myself”, which is the essence of today’s exercise –
I do not have to write about it…
Or do I?