Saturday, November 06, 2004

Saint Paul

Recently, a friend opined that it seemed unlikely that I could be as mechanically challenged as I let on. In my head, the full and unspoken text goes thusly: "On the whole, you don't seem completely stupid, so I am at pains to believe that you could possibly be as clueless and unhandy as you claim." I suppose there's a compliment in there somewhere, but the truth is that I am, in point of fact, pretty darned clueless when it comes to things mechanical.

I related to said friend an account of the time when daughter #2 pulled out a sofa bed that she shouldn't have because it was malfunctioning; we had a deuce of a time trying to get it folded back in. At one point, my wife and daughter looked at the mechanism and both deduced that the flangmigoo had to nestled aside the grabinspock in order for the filagromer to slip back into place. You see, they might as well have been uttering those nonsense words, for as I looked at the very same things that they were looking at, I could not make sense of what they were saying.

However, I joined with them in pushing, pulling, heaving, and cajoling in the directions that they indicated, and the mattress magically [to me] slipped back into place. In those moments, it fully dawned on me that I lacked certain perceptive abilities that others take for granted and that I may as well acknowledge such and save myself some frustration in life. I had not understood this truth about myself prior to this incident; it was somewhat of a seminal moment, really.

When I related this and other similar accounts to said friend, he concluded that I might have a touch of dyslexia. I begin to wonder if he isn't correct. For example, I know my directions but typically find myself saying east rather than west. Just the other day, I was on the phone with tech support for my computer. When techno-man instructed me to click the right mouse button, I madly clicked the left. At times I read aloud to my spouse in bed, and if she chances to look over my shoulder at the page, she sometimes sees that I am inventing my own text. The words that I say make sense and are harmonious with the real text, but they aren't always the exact text as written. I tend to reverse words, for example, or even change the syntax of whole sentences. I'm not sure how my brain accomplishes all of this — how it is able make the adjustments necessary to make coherent sentences that carry the story along nicely — but it usually seems to manage. Sometimes I am aware this process transpiring but not always, I'm sure.

High tech apparel can also give me fits. As readers of this blog will know (for I have gone on at great length by times) we purchased bicycles this summer and have been madly pedalling about like frantic fools ever since. My helmet, however, is beyond my comprehension. The other day, I thought that I should tighten it just a tad. I took it off my head, surveyed the various and sundry straps and doodads perplexedly, and put it back on my noggin without the required adjustment. I could have probably sorted it all out in time, but the quantum effort did not seem to be worth it.

I am now in some sort of angst over my new winter coat — excuse me — system. You see it has a liner, umpteen zippers, sundry hooks, and myriad flaps. I asked the salesperson, not altogether jokingly, if they offered a night course on how to wear the coat ... er, ah ... system. My spouse may have to dress me this winter, which makes me wonder how I could possibly reciprocate. Tantalizing possibilities spring to mind.

If this diagnosis [of dyslexia] is correct, I must suffer from only a mild and/or unusual strain of this affliction, as I did not find it difficult to learn to read. In fact, I seem to read rather well — even if I do construct my own stories by times!

Enter Saint Paul. We have a friend who seems to accept my handicap without judgment or condescension, and he frequently and freely does what he can to assist. He has installed lights for us, replaced boards, and done various odd jobs. He does this without expectation of payment or reward beyond the odd pint or two after a job well done.

Saint Paul reads this blog, so I offer it here as a semi-public form of thanks.

It is also his opinion that I should post more photos. This one's for you, Paul — Patron Saint of the Dyslexic.

Our local wetlands on a very windy day  



Butterfly said...

Oh I did love this post. So funny. E kept asking me what I was laughing at.

Cheers to Paul and to your form of dyslexia. Makes for a good blog.

JV said...

Hi Anvilcloud,

If you were dyslexic, at all, I think you would have known before this. It could be something else, though. I have two weird little things that my brain does. One is that I sometimes lose the last word of a sentence I'm saying. It just won't come, until a few seconds have passed, and the conversation has moved on. I usually say the word anyway, when it does finally show up, even though no one is listening to me any more. My father does it too.

The other thing I do sometimes is when writing down something that is being dictated by someone else, perhaps a phone message, I'll write the second word or digit first, and have to go back and fill in the part I skipped. It just happens. I think there are names for both of these phenomena, but I forget what they are.

Anonymous said...

Here I sit on the graveyard shift boiling oil and board as usual reading my favorite blog. Never really thought of you a mechanically challenged, but just as someone who took a path in life that did not allow time to attain a technical understanding that it would be the grabinspock that would slip back into place with the filagomer!

The Saint Paul:)

Dale said...

Have you heard the one about the dyslexic agnostic with insomnia? He was up all night wondering whether or not there really is a dog.

Great post!

Anonymous said...

Great post. I too am mechanically inept. A computer I can handle but anything else and look out. But isn't that why we have wives and tradepeople?