Wednesday, December 27, 2006

In which she emerges from a haze of good food and good company

Hi all. We are still in Washington DC. We will be traveling home tomorrow, barring airport closures due to snow and other weather mishaps.

It has been a lovely time with our friends. Now i need to go home and begin my Christmas shopping. No, not for next year. I have purchased exactly 4 presents so far this year, and they were all for people here in DC. I annoyed Em by individually wrapping three pairs of socks as presents. The reason for this is that she arrived here with only the socks she was wearing. A slight packing snafu. It happens to all of us.

Two observations from being here:

We went to the National Portrait Gallery yesterday in downtown DC. It was not crowded, which was lovely. I would be standing, say, two and a half feet from a picture, and someone would come and insert themselves between me and the picture. This happened several times. I mentioned it to my friends and they said, "Welcome to the East Coast."

There are three young people in our party, 11, 15 and 16. They all want so much to be the imparter of information, to be the one who "knows" a fact, to be the center of attention. Some people lose this need as they get older, and some do not. I sometimes have to remind myself that it's okay to say "I don't know."

20 comments:

Sober Briquette said...

Merry Christmas!

We all got socks, too. I think I may be the only person who likes wool socks, and I got blue and purple marled pairs. I am stylin'.

I love to say "I don't know." If only that answer worked. I'm trying to do better and say, "Let's look it up."

Hope your trip home is uneventful.

Lisa said...

Hope y'all have a safe trip home!

And that's one thing you learn in law school - how to say, "I don't know, let me look it up" (and charge $200 an hour for the looking! LOL).

Bob said...

sometimes I think "I don't know" is the 2nd most difficult phrase to say in the english language. (The first is "I'm sorry" - and is meant when said). I see a lot of blah blah blah in meetings when it is obvious that the speaker doesn't know what he/she's talking about. It is as if saying "I don't know" is a sin. I personally would rather hear someone say it and then follow up (like Lisa said above) with "I will find out and get back to you".

It has taken me years and one really good boss to learn this lesson. I was the class know-it-all in school and still am if I don't watch myself.

BTW - I thought the national portrait gallery was closed for a 3 year overhaul. I'm glad to hear it is back in business.

patches said...

Funny, when I say "I don't know," my spouse thinks I am withholding information and proceeds to ask the exact same question and changes a word or two....but when I suggest HE go look it up he says,"Never mind it really wasn't that important"

Hope that you and the family have a safe and uneventful trip home.

Marsha said...

glad you had a good trip. I still have that tendancy to want to insert my vast knowledge into every situation. Having a similar daughter has really opened my eyes to the impression I leave while dropping all kinds of interesting facts. Safe trip home.

jen said...

There is so freaking much I don't know.

I kind of love it when other people do. Makes things seem saner, somehow.

Safe travels, friend.

onetallmomma said...

Merry Christmas! Thank you for your love and support this year. Please, keep writing. I will keep reading.

AC said...

Since my daughter has reached 21, I say "I don't know" all the time to her. Now she responds by saying, "You used to know everything, what happened?" Its easier now.

People insert themselves between me and the Target shelves too, not on the East Coast.

Mother of Invention said...

Both good observations. I can't imagine people barging in like that anywhere in Canada! People bump into us and we say we're sorry!
I don't know a lot of stuff! It's not even worth me trying to keep up with the "know-it-alls"!

Holly Capote said...

meno, I actually miss the aggression of the east coast. I saw a Wisconsin driver nearly clobber some college kids trying to cross at a crosswalk. No one said anything. Everyone seemed paralyzed by politeness. I'd rather live in a place where the driver's car's paint job would be imperiled, after students started chucking textbooks and laptops at his car.

Malnurtured Snay said...

We East Coasters are rude because we're hard core and stuff. When the West Coast has been part of the U.S. for as long as we have, you'll be hard core and jaded too.

(I'm not really an asshole, I just play on in blogger comments).

Mama P said...

I am not sure if this is posting again - hate the new blogger. But wanted to say that I am so over being right. Partly because half the time I'm not, but you know what, a lot of the times on life issues - not facts - I really am right. But who am I to pound it over someone's head? I like your attitude. Yes, I'm right about that one - unmistakably.

Caro said...

My step-father passed away december the 19 th and I will always remember him as someone who didn't have to "know" things. I suppose a lot of that had to do with his age, he was 85, but I like to think he was always like that. Secure in saying "i just don't know" ...

urban-urchin said...

Welcome to the East Coast indeed! At the Natural History museum in NYC yesterday I lost it and yelled at a woman behind us in line at the cafe. She was pushing us and saying "Are you going? Can you move?" in a nasally Rosie Perez voice.

Grrrrr.

Sanjay said...

This happened several times. I mentioned it to my friends and they said, "Welcome to the East Coast."

Not always true, must be a DC thing? ;-)

It's ok to not know things. I sometimes used to do that with *A*, download tons of junk info at her at the end of the day causing her to roll her eyes. I outgrew that and oh this was not when I was in my teens, but much later. Go figure. :)
Hope you saw more of the amazing museums in DC. Have a safe trip back.

bobealia said...

You just gave me the idea to go to a gallery with some of the time that is left in this holiday. Happy shopping! I got three pair of socks for Christmas too.

mrschili said...

Really?! People aren't rude, selfish and inconsiderate on the west coast? You mean, it's just here?! I've gotta move!

Ortizzle said...

Public manners: I got so used to being "jostled" in heavy shopping crowds when I lived in Madrid that I stopped thinking it was rude... just a life style in crowded urban environments where everyone is in a hurry. It took some real adjusting when I came back to the States and people would say "Excuse me!" for just coming within inches of my coat tails in a shopping aisle. What I think is rude is people blocking aisles while they gab and other people can't get past. My faith in public rudeness was restored the other day when shopping in Walmart and there was a traffic jam in one of the aisles. After patiently waiting a bit, I announced: "Could we maybe have two lanes of traffic here, preferably one in each direction?" (I figured their rudeness for not moving when they could plainly see I wanted to get by was deserving of my sarcasm.) Well, the woman in front of me shot back with this: "I'm not illiterate, you know!" Priceless. For everything else, there's MasterCard, heh, heh.

As far as "I don't know," .... I had a hard time with that when I first started teaching until I realized that you actually get a lot more respect when you admit you don't know something, especially since students can suss out the B.S. a mile off.

Have a good trip back!

QT said...

Meno! Have a safe trip back home and know that even if people on the West Coast aren't as rude, they are still terrible, terrible drivers that can't move over when someone wants to go faster than they are! :)

Platypus said...

Glad you had a good trip! I love the internet for enabling me to quickly find out the answers to stuff I don't know. With an inquisitive teenager it's my lifeline! She also tells me that I used to know everything and wonders what happened!