How do you DO that?

I had a Chemistry teacher in high school who looked me in the eye one afternoon (as I was maybe, possibly serving a detention for talking too much), and simply said, “How do you do that?” When I looked confused, she explained: “You have an A in my class, so you must be able to listen to what I’m saying, but you and everyone at your table talk CONSTANTLY.” In our defense, we were all in drama together, then we went to lunch, and then we went to study hall in the Chem classroom, and THEN we were expected to stop talking and showing off for each other and sit still and learn about Chemistry. But I had an edge there. I like math and science, my dad is a chemical engineer, and I can talk and listen at the same time. These things were not all true of my lab partners, so the teacher asked me to do my part to curb the chatting. It is also notable that compared to the average drama student, I am quiet, reserved and laid-back. A-hem.  The upside: we all passed, some with distinction, Mrs. Lindsey’s Chemistry class. We also all avoided detention thereafter. But we still talked. A lot. Just not during the actual instruction time. Because we should have learned better than that in elementary school.

Now I am the one who constantly wonders “How do you do that?” I can still talk and listen at the same time, though I have learned that other people generally prefer that I just listen when I’m listening and that I talk somewhat less often than I would most prefer. What makes me incredulous are all the things people do in a day. This time of year is rife with stories of all the preparations that people make for the holidays, all the things they buy, all the functions they attend, and all the other little details that get done that I’ve never even thought of. I sit in awe. I was impressed with myself for getting my house clean. And keeping it that way for four whole days so far. And I only turned banshee on my kids once! Other people have cookies baked, trees trimmed, halls decked and presents bought and wrapped. How do they do that? When do they sleep? When do they READ?

*Confessions of an inveterate, irascible, intransigent book addict. Who isn’t even behind on her own Christmas schedule. Because she plans to decorate in December. Which doesn’t even start until tomorrow! And if I made the cookies now, I’d just have to make more later. ‘Cause I’d eat them. Though I might share. A few.


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