As anyone who knows me soon realizes, I am not a “normal person.” I never have been and I never will be. My mom used to marvel that, despite the many differences between people my age and me, I had the ability to make, and keep, friends. I have usually been accepted by people who get to know me, even though they are sometimes frustrated by my tendency to “march to a different drummer.” I recognize that I cannot do a lot of things other people can do. Here’s a funny example: My dear friend since 1964, Roger, and his lovely wife, Janine, visited David and me recently. They, like many people, enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning. David always makes coffee for our house guests, and on this morning, a Sunday, after finishing his coffee, Roger told me he would have washed the coffee pot but David asked him not to because he was going to make my coffee for the following week. Roger asked why David, who doesn’t even drink coffee, made a week’s worth of coffee (which I drink cold, with ice) for me. He asked why I don’t make coffee for myself, to which I answered, “I have no idea how to make coffee for anyone, including me.” Roger shook his head glumly and informed me how lucky I am to have David looking out for me. I explained that not knowing how to make coffee is one of the numerous activities of daily living that challenge me. There are too many things to mention in this post! We have a new employee who, while trying to learn her job, asks me lots of questions that I have no idea how to answer. Her questions are valid, however, I just don’t know how to operate the copy machine, or where the paper clips are located, or how to do the normal things people who work in an office environment need to do. I’m not the absent minded professor who lives in an ivory tower, but the mundane aspects of life are often out of my realm of existence. Thank you David, for navigating me through life!
I think sometimes about how the life Melissa and I share personally and professionally is built on trade offs of strengths and weaknesses. Long ago, a client/friend remarked “David must be here to carry Melissa’s luggage.” We were attending a conference where she was speaking, and this client/friend had invited her to speak. He was right; I did carry her luggage, literally, and I made sure her slide show was ready to go. Back then it was 35mm slides on a Carousel projector, now PowerPoint or Keynote on an iPad, various networking components and, and a projector, and I still do these things. Many years ago, we observed Ozzy Osbourne from our seats that were located slightly to the side of the stage. We noticed that someone “walked him” to the edge of the stage, holding his elbow and shining a flashlight. Once at the edge, the roadie disappeared and Ozzy seemed to turn on, running to his mark on the stage, and he was off and singing for 2 hours. Melissa and I are not quite like that, but she does the things in our professional world that utilize her skills and knowledge. I long ago learned to accept my role is not in that spotlighted place, but it is to be sure to get her there. I doubt that Ozzy knows “how to operate the copy machine, or where the paper clips are located” and probably not how to make coffee. I can just hear him yelling “Sharon” on the old reality TV show at least!