It was my Auntie Colleen who shattered my image of adults by confessing to me that she has trouble with her coat zippers. I was flabbergasted. I couldn't zip up my coat, but I was a little girl. I thought that all grown ups could zip zippers, but here was Auntie Colleen, struggling with her zipper right before my very eyes.
Not too long after this discovery, I entered my teenage years where I, of course, knew everything.
I have a theory of why most teenagers go through this stage. When you're little, you believe that your parents have the answers for everything, and that all grown ups are simply fountains of knowledge. They know everything, they can do anything; they are just perfect.
But then you start to notice that they don't actually know everything. There are some things that your parents don't know. There are things they can't fix. There are questions that remain without answers. This is a hard concept to accept. Someone has to have all the answers, right?
So, to combat the internal turmoil caused by this discovery, teens attempt to become the ones who know everything. Very often, the only ones they trick into thinking this are themselves, but everyone is very obliging and lets them think that they have all the answers.
Most people go through the know-it-all stage. The idea is to get out of it before you make any serious choices that can mess up your life for a long time.
I'm still getting out of that stage, myself--everyday with Rachel is an adventure, and she helps me become more and more humble. We play a lot of guessing games to find out what she needs. More and more grown-up situations are arising in mine and Andrew's life that force us to ask for advice. And I still can't rip saran wrap.
Very occasionally I rip the saran wrap and it is perfect. More often, it will rip fine for an inch or two and then I will end up stretching and pulling until the end when I come out with a very skewed piece of saran wrap that I have to unwrinkle before I can use. The ratio of the perfect rip to the latter kind is probably 1 to 19. Pathetic, I know. I think it might have something to do with a wrist flick that I just haven't mastered.
Rachel's going to grow up thinking that crumpled triangular-ish sheets of saran wrap are normal. I'm afraid she will never aspire to the clean cut rectangles that, in my mind, all successful adults can accomplish.
I was bemoaning my flaw to Andrew after putting the leftovers away (involving some sad attempts at covering things with awkward pieces of saran wrap), and consoled myself by telling him that my aunt can't zip her own coat. We then started trying to think up something that he can't do but, by definition of being an adult, should be able to.
He seems to check out on everything, but I'll get back to you if I think of something.
What's something you still can't do perfectly?
Here's the criteria:
1) It has to be something you grew up thinking all grown ups could do. This varies from person to person. My cousins grew up knowing that not all adults could zip their coats; I did not. Rachel will grow up knowing that not all adults can rip saran wrap, while I grew up thinking this was merely a childish flaw.
2) You can't have a valid reason for not being able to do it (for example, because you are too scared/ticklish/lazy or any other reason). You must simply and genuinely not be able to do it.
3) It must be a mundane, everyday thing. I can't scuba dive or fly a plane, but these things aren't "life skills," so to speak.
I'm interested to find out...