Sometime last week, after pondering and talking about a topic on Twitter, Dhruv Bhutani asked me if there was anything I wasn’t good at. While I have a fatal case of over-curiosity and a big reading problem* and thus appear to be the walking talking encyclopedia, there are many things that am only ok to down right bad at. Here are a few that come to mind immediately:
1) Small Ball Sports…. such as tennis, badminton, table tennis, handball, and golf: Basically any hand-eye coordination sport that involves a small ball**. For reasons unknown to me, I am decent at baseball/softball, volleyball, football/soccer, and basketball. And after much practice, I can draw, so I am not a total wash out at hand-eye coordination.
2) Learning dance moves and/or participating in any synchronized dance. More times than I can count from age five to thirty-five I have enthusiastically taken a dance class only to end up in tears about 15-25 minutes into the class as my eyes & ears can see / hear the instructions on how to make the body movements in question, but I can’t for the life of me get my limbs to do said activity. Tears in public, tears while surrounded by graceful dancing swans who get it right the very first time around.
3) Timing. Be it in dance or piano, I am usually two steps/beats ahead or two behind. This is an analogy for my whole life and got me kicked out of ballet & tap class at age five just before the class performance at the Costa Mesa Fish Fry, as well as causing me problems in middle school piano recitals and swing dancing during the late 90s/early 00s craze. Good thing I did not seriously practice bass guitar, as any band I was in would have had a drummer ready to kill me.
4) Illustrator. I took my first Adobe Illustrator class in 1990, again in 1991, another in 2000, more valiant attempts at the pen and path tools through the whole of the 2000s, basically I suck at Illustrator or Inkscape. I do just fine in drawing with Flash, Fireworks or Photoshop, but I want to throw my computer out at the window with Illustrator. I only use Inkscape under extreme duress now and then only for badly done mobile app SVG icons.
5) Writing for deadline***. If I am writing for myself for no particular reason at all, like this blog post, I can type out an amazing amount of words in no time at all. If I am writing for a deadline, be it school, masters thesis, business, clients, or a magazine; even if my reputation and friendships are on the line; for whatever reason, I get horrible writer’s block and have been known to stand on toilets bleaching ceilings rather than write the 85 – 20,000 words needed. This is a problem.
Mind you, just because I think I suck and after much trying still can’t do the above activities, it doesn’t mean that I have stopped trying. I am overly persistent. Well, I don’t play tennis or golf, as I have been known to bean people in the head with said ball…
– – – – – – * Notes – – – – – –
** On my Mom’s side of the family, they are almost all serious athletes, be it pro or am. My Mom is 69 and is a keen surfer & skier. I have several cousins who are/were the best in their sports, a stepfather who was/is sports obsessed, and a grandfather who won the 1987 sailing world championships. To be bad at sports and bookish in my family made for a moderately miserable childhood. I fought back with goth attire and punk rock.
*** Express apologies to long-suffering CS who has been waiting for a one paragraph synopsis out of me since… oh… May.