Years ago I took an individual IQ test as preparation for a speech I was to give for a college course. During the test I was asked questions but also tasked to recreate shapes of increasing complexity with some blocks. I remember the tester finally calling ‘time’ and insisting that I could do it if he just gave me a little longer. After a round of this, he finally told me that he had already given me twice as much time as he should have and that I certainly was persistent. Later, going over the results, he shook his head, informing me that if he had not witnessed my difficulties with his own eyes, he would not believe the results – seems I’m pretty smart when it comes to verbal and math skills, but when it comes to navigating the physical world, not so much. In fact, he actually mentioned the phrase ‘organic brain syndrome’ (which he quickly discounted, but there it was – the evidence of my extreme lack of ability to discern and comprehend the physical world – I will, I then realized, never be picked first for any team).
Flash forward to Monday evening. I decided to rearrange some furniture and put a small love seat formerly in my office in the dining room. I know it fits through the door because the moving man got it in here back when.
It’s not heavy and I determined (against all evidence to the contrary) that I could do this on my own (that’s part of my charm and frustration for those who know me – this belief that I can simply because I wish it to be so).
So to the doorway I headed, pushing the small couch in front of me. I quickly determined that it would not go through head on (I really am not a total idiot). So I turned it first on one side then the other. Still no go. Then I tipped it up. No luck. Then I tried angling it. You guessed it – failure again.
I did this for 30+ minutes and to my credit, never lost patience. I just knew that if I kept angling, I would get the thing through. Alas, I did not.
So I left it there – lying on its side in the doorway (I would post a picture, but there is only so much self-disclosure I am willing to document). Fortunately, there’s another door so I could get in and out of the office without climbing the couch.
I left it there knowing that an opportunity for help would present itself and it did in pretty short order. Yesterday, Wes called and after catching up, I mentioned the couch and he offered to stop by and help.
And you know the rest of the story already – funny even or perhaps because of its predictability – Wes came; looked at the couch for about 10 seconds, commented, “you know it has to be angled, right?” (of course I knew that – I just didn’t know how); lifted the couch and had it out in about 30 seconds. “You’re not funny,” I said with a smile on my face. I’m not sure, but I think he said back, “sure I am.”
Less than 5 minutes later, what I had tried for almost an hour was done: couch – safely ensconced in the dining room, looking as if it’s been there all along.
Sometimes, but not often, I envy the rest of you your ability to navigate the physical world. Mostly I just laugh and phone a friend. That works too.