Posted by: Rachel | September 1, 2011

Different kinds of Smarts

I’m not a morning person. I like to hit the snooze button many times. I sleep as long as I can and then rush around like a maniac trying to get everything done in time. But Earl, he gets up waaaaayyyy before he needs to leave for work. If he needs to be at work at 6:30 he gets up at 5:00. Work at 5:30, up at 4:00.  He gets up, makes his breakfast, walks out to get the paper, feeds the cat and the dog, eats breakfast, reads the paper, lays down on the sofa for 10 minutes, does his back exercises, brushes his teeth and then he leaves for work. And sometime during this process, usually while he’s eating breakfast, he hollers for me to get up, so I can pack his lunch. And I always take my good time before I actually get up, maybe five minutes or more. Because I love my bed so much.

But this morning when Earl told me to get up, he said “Right now.” And I begged, “can’t I rest just a little longer” and he replies, “nope, there’s been an emergency, I gotta get to work quick.”  My first thought was ‘I bet he’s just saying that to get me out of bed really quick.’ But unfortunately, I did have to get up, and so at 4:22am I dragged myself out of bed and went to pack his lunch with bleary eyes and slow lethargic movements.

His boss had called him to say that one of the truck drivers had broken down on the road and as the mechanic, Earl is the man to solve problems like this. So Earl sat down to his breakfast of scrambled eggs and bacon and called up Jerry the Truck Driver. As I moved at the pace of molasses to make a few sandwiches I heard him talking about wheels, lugs coming loose, spokes sheared off, wheels all ripped up, things of such nature. I barely understood anything I heard, especially the pinching the hose, filling up the airbags, what kind of assembly are they. Will you need a new hub, oh, so we need a whole new wheel, are you fully loaded, yada yada.  While I packed some carrots and dip for the lunch I came to some kind of realization that somewhere at 4:30am there is a tanker fully loaded on the road and it should be moved to the side of the road immediately.

*Don’t let people read this who know something about mechanics. I’m just writing this as I remember it (remember I was half asleep), and I’m probably sounding like an idiot.

After Earl is off the phone he tells me that Jerry the Truck Driver is on his way back with a full cement tanker and the lugs must have come loose and the whole wheel is torn up. Earl wasn’t sure if he went to Allentown to get cement or “or slag, at, what’s that gritty place in NJ?” “Camden?,” I say. “yeah, Camden.”  (I might have gotten the cement location and the slag location mixed up, I don’t know, they don’t pay me to remember details)

Earl isn’t sure where this all went down, he was just trying to figure out how to get the trailer to the side of the road. (It must not be close by because I saw Earl got the GPS out of the minivan and took it with him.) And Jerry the Truck Driver is supposed to go with Andy the Other Truck Driver this morning and so he needed to get back to the shop soon, and all kinds of complicated stuff. I could almost see the wheels start turning and buzzing and whirring in Earl’s head as he talked to Jerry the Truck Driver. He would say something, and then pause for a while, until I almost thought he didn’t know what he should do, and then I remembered that this is how he thinks. I ask a million questions and wait for answers, but he thinks then asks one question. He says that I wouldn’t need to ask so many questions if I would just think first. Don’t tell him, but he might be right.

By now you are surely wondering why I think that you care about the cement tanker breakdowns, and our morning routines, and all that other good stuff. Why do I think you care? Because I’m awesome, that’s why. Haha. I’m funny. Jeepers, it’s way too early, I’m slightly looney. Ok, ok, I’ll get back to earth.

You see, I enjoy talking politics, social and theological issues. Earl does not enjoy even thinking about those things. One of the last times I had some big theological issue on my mind I was telling him my thoughts and questions, and he said, “Why do you think about these things.” I told him I can’t help it, and he said, ‘well just stop thinking about it, just don’t think about it.” And so sometimes I wish that he would enjoy these deep discussions with me. But talking about the merits of school vouchers or church issues is not his strength.

Sometimes I think of people who wouldn’t know who Hillary Clinton is, as well, kinda, not smart. *True story, my aunt, back in the mid-nineties, didn’t know who Hillary Clinton was.* But Earl is smart, crikeys, I would have never known how to help Jerry the Truck Driver if he had called me. Their conversation sounded a little like a foreign language.

And so just because we don’t all have the same interests doesn’t mean some of us are less intelligent than others. Maybe that’s why opposites attract. So we get to really see that different doesn’t mean dumb. Like how Rhiannon’s handwriting is um, not neat, to put it nicely, compared to Alaina’s handwriting at the same age. But Rhiannon can really help work. Alaina can draw beautiful pictures. Rhiannon has a special way with her younger sister.

I have a feeling that I need to remember all of this in the next few months. Rhiannon just started kindergarten and I don’t think that she will be the straight A+ student that her sister is. It’s not that straight As are super important to me, but oh, that child worries me. She can’t stand or sit still. Yesterday she was telling me a story and she whirled and twirled around the whole time. Drives me nuts. I want her to stand still and look me in the eyes, but it seems she can’t concentrate then. But I love her even though she’s different, just like I love her daddy even when he’s different.

Such big thoughts so early in the morning. Sheesh. I’m starting to fall asleep with all these brainy ideas. I guess I shall go take a power nap. And just because you don’t need a power nap at 6am doesn’t make you better than me. Well, maybe just a little tiny bit better, but not a lot.

Little Smarts and Big Smarts

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