Owning up to yourself

Despite how relentlessly I have tried to deny them, handicaps are what make me human.

Kate Nelson

Windshield. That’s the term I thought those fake-friendly meteorologists were using during the frigid winter mornings of my youth. These mornings were generally spent darting in and out of the kitchen, willing the name of my elementary school to scroll along the bottom edge of the television screen along with the rest of that day’s cancellations.

A windshield of say, 24 degrees below zero meant that when a responsible, legal adult (such as one of my parents) was driving at the responsible, legal speed limit of 55, the wind rushing upon the glass barrier before us would be precisely that temperature.

It never occurred to me to wonder why people would care about the temperature of the air hitting a windshield. Then again, it never occurred to me to listen more closely to hear that WDAZ regular John Wheeler was actually saying “wind chill.”

I recognized the error in this belief shortly after coming to college. That’s right, college.

While most of these literal misinterpretations – at least those of which I am aware – have melted away over the years, there remain some things I still cannot seem to get right.

For instance, if a particular gene accounts for a person’s estimation skills, there seems to have been breakdown somewhere in my DNA. Whether we’re guessing distance, quantity, age or time, my talents are more along the lines of a lack thereof.

Secondly, I have somehow mastered the art of inappropriate interruption to the extent that people don’t seem to realize it’s rude. The biggest downfall is that my likeliness to cut in is directly proportionate to the authoritative status of my conversation mate or the importance of the discussion.

And, alas, my once-uncanny math skills went right out the window when – well, I can’t pinpoint an exact date.

So how does my inability to successfully guesstimate the number of jelly beans in a jar affect you? Well, it has been a winding road to this point, but I am finally coming to terms with some of these inabilities. And not with the lofty hope some motivational speaker would like to have instilled in me, such as bettering myself.

Rather than trying to hone these skills, I have decided to own up to them. They’re mine; they’re me. Despite how relentlessly I have tried to deny them, these handicaps are what make me human, what make me relatable and what make people care.

Perfection is a number of things: dreamy, enviable, even mind-boggling. Then again, it is also a handful of others: intimidating, staunch, boring. I bet it gets awfully lonely, too, what with never having to ask for a helping hand or for some friendly reassurance.

Self-forgiving, but not necessarily forgetting, is vital for self-preservation. It is likely a good step toward becoming more accepting of others and, of course, the many quirks that accompany them.

While I might not be the estimation expert called upon in a global emergency, I’ll have a hell of a lot more stories to tell than the person who gets it just right every time, especially when it comes to windshields.

Kate Nelson welcomes comments at [email protected]