Now that I’ve made myself sound a bit strange with my admission that I’m in serious danger of becoming a recluse, I thought I’d make myself sound even MORE weird, with this list of things that you can probably do that I can’t.
I briefly alluded to the existence of this list in my “Redheads Can’t Wear Pink” post, and I think some people assumed the list in question was redhead-specific. Of course, there’s really nothing redheads can’t do that other people can, so actually, this one is just about ME, and although there are thousands of things I can’t do, I’m talking here about the ordinary, everyday things: the kind of things most people do without even thinking about, but which remain elusive to me, even after years of trying. You won’t be surprised to know that I can’t wrestle alligators, for instance, or perform brain surgery, but you might be surprised to learn that I can’t…
Any time I attempt to clean a window, say, or a mirror, I can guarantee it will end up looking much, much worse than when I started. Like, it’ll start out with just a tiny smudge in the centre, and by the time I’m done with it, the whole THING will be a smudge. Seriously, I’ve lost entire days to the removal of one tiny smudge on a mirror. There I’ll be, walking by it, all innocence, when suddenly I’ll see it: THE SMUDGE. (Er, if you could imagine some horror-movie sound effects here, that would help make this point a bit more interesting, and bit LESS like an entire paragraph about cleaning glass…) “Hmm,” I’ll think to myself, “That mirror needs a clean. I’ll just give it a quick wipe over…”
Fast-forward to three hours later: I’m STILL in front of that mirror, and it’s STILL smudged, but now there are multiple smudges, and also a large collection of streaks, most of which have been caused by my ineffective attempts to try and clean it. I’ll also be wild-eyed and close to tears, and talking about how I’m going to RIP THIS MIRROR RIGHT OFF THE WALL AND THROW IT OUT OF THE WINDOW. Which… wait! Is that a smudge on the WINDOW?! And then the whole thing starts again. Entire days have been lost in this manner. I hate myself.
(P.S. Yes, I have read all of the advice about cleaning glass: the newspaper, and the vinegar, and all of the other many, many tried-and-true, idiot-proof ways to clean glass. I’ve even had my mum come round to try to teach me her ways. I. Just. Can’t. Do. It. It’s one of the great tragedies of my life that I’m completely obsessive about keeping things clean, but I’m not very good at actually cleaning them…)
Change the duvet cover
Seriously: putting a duvet inside its cover must surely be one of the biggest tests of a person’s patience there is? I bet it’s part of the NASA entrance test or something. They’ll be all, “OK, so you understand quantum physics, and a bunch of clever astronaut stuff, but let’s just see if you can put this duvet inside its cover!” It will come as no surprise to any of you that I wouldn’t get into NASA. Because I always end up with MYSELF inside the duvet cover, while the duvet itself sits on the bedroom floor, all smug.
Again, various people have tried to teach me how to do this: again, they have all failed. I’m fairly sure that if I ever get to heaven, I’ll be standing at the gates, and St Peter will say, “Well done, Amber, you’ve reached the final stage. Now, in order to get through these gates, I’m going to need you to neatly place this duvet inside its cover…” And then I’ll drop straight down to hell. (Where I will ALSO be required to spend all my time changing duvet covers, come to think of it…)
Drive on the motorway/in very heavy traffic
I realise this one will make me sound even stranger than I normally sound, but I am terrified of driving on motorways, or any road where the traffic is moving really fast, and changing lanes all the time. I have literally come close to having a panic attack when attempting to do this, and I have NO IDEA how people do without thinking they’re about to meet their fiery death.
I drink wine. It just needs to be poured and drunk, and so that’s pretty much all I know how to do when it comes to alcoholic beverages. Terry makes great cocktails, but often when we have guests round, that particular task falls to me (Terry will be fulfilling the role of “entertainer”: I, meanwhile, get the role of “hired help”…), and that’s why most people leave our house drunk. Yes, we have those little measuring cup things. No, I don’t know where they are. At our house-warming party last year, I cheerfully provided people with such strong measures of vodka that my brother-in-law had to step in and take over, before I actually killed someone.
My ineptitude with drinks also extends to hot beverages. You know when a bunch of people come into your house, and you ask them if they’d like a tea or coffee, and they all say “YES, PLEASE!” and then hit you with complicated drinks orders, involving half a spoonful of coffee, with three-quarters of a spoonful of sugar, and milk, but only if its a super-special type of milk you don’t have? That makes me want to cry. (Specifically, it makes me want to cry, “Just make it yourself, if you’re going to be THAT fussy about it!”)
Even when the orders themselves aren’t complicated, I can never remember who wanted milk/who didn’t, and who wanted sugar/how many, so the first thirty minutes of any conversation between Terry and our guests is always peppered with endless interruptions from me, saying, “Sorry, what did you all want again?” I’d have been a rubbish barista/cocktail waitress, that’s for damn sure.
(*It’s just occurred to me that what I SHOULD do is just put the milk and sugar on a tray, and let people help themselves. Coming up with solutions like this is probably another thing you can do, but I can’t…)
(Would it be weird for me to get out a note-pad on these occasions, like an ACTUAL waitress? Yes. Yes it would, Amber…)
Wear low-heeled ankle boots.
I can wear HIGH-heeled ankle boots just fine, because they tend to be quite close-fitting at the ankles, but any time I try to wear the low-heeled ones, in an attempt to be casually-cool, I end up looking like my feet belong on someone else’s body: or like I’m wearing a couple of boats on the ends of my legs. I don’t THINK I have particularly large feet for my size, but low-heeled boots make them look at least five sizes larger than they actually are, which isn’t a great look. Despite this, I have at least three pairs of low-heeled ankle boots in my closet right now.
In conclusion, it’s pretty amazing I even manage to function AT ALL, isn’t it? If you want me to feel better, you can tell me about some ordinary, everyday thing YOU can’t do. If you want to make me feel worse, meanwhile… I’m sure you’ll think of something.
(P.S. I AM pretty good at buying stripey tops, though. The one in the photo is from Miss Selfridge.)