Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A Love Story and How to Snooker People into Believing you Know More than you Actually Do

The other evening, Nova Scotia came up in a conversation.

I'm not exactly sure how or why it came up, but I think it had something to with the movie we were watching at the time that starred Russell Crowe. The discussion that followed was a debate about what country he is from.

I said England, Chris said Ireland.

(Both answers were wrong, as I just learned on Wikipedia. He was born in New Zealand, then moved to Australia.)

Our conversations sometimes wander and wildly veer off course , so it probably should have been no surprise that this particular conversation ended up in Nova Scotia.

I also think that Chris is manipulative and is slowly trying to eek information about how little I know in life so he can mock me. It makes him feel smarter.

"Do know what Nova Scotia means," he asked.

It means something? Really? Actually, I thought it was just a city in Canada, but upon further research I did a this very moment, it is an entire province. When we took our honeymoon to New Brunswick, Chris had mentioned it would be fun to continue on to Nova Scotia. I just assumed he was talking about a city farther north.

"I don't know," I said. He was fishing, and I have to be in the mood to play along sometimes.

"Just think about it."

"New.....Scotland?" I asked. He nodded. "Why would it be named 'Nova Scotia,' then? Don't Scottish people speak English? Why didn't they just name it 'New Scotland?'"

"What language do they speak in Ireland," he prompted. Dammit.

He was asking trick questions now; he found a gaping hole in my knowledge of this particular region.

"They speak English, Chris," I said.

I knew this for a fact because in my Great Couch Potato Episode of 2004 (that had a great deal with not being properly medicated), I exhausted the American market of available DVD's. Therefore, I had to move on to the foreign film genre among which included several Irish films. I recall needing to listen a lot closer and having to look several words up online, but generally there no subtitles. Also, Bono is Irish and requires no translator.

"But what language did they historically speak," he asked. Did he think he was doing me a favor by proving I was an idiot?

"Now, how the hell would I know that?"

"Celtic," he said proudly. "They spoke Celtic."

I guess I did know that.

I had never promised him that I was a Rhodes Scholar, let alone the brightest bulb in the bunch. I never said ~ uh, you know what?

I think I did hint that I was one hum-dinger of a smart cookie in my personal ad I posted on American Online ad that he read and ultimately responded to.

The whole "smart girl" claim, as erroneous as it might have been, was a challenge to him, especially after all of the "I like long walks on the beach," and "I like long romantic dinners" statements he mocked before he got to mine.

It was 1998 and I had decided to place a personal ad online upon the encouragement of a college friend.

"Yeah, go ahead and do that," she said, pretending to be supportive but in her mind I know she was thinking, "What a loser. Let me know how that works out!"

I had nothing to lose, really. I had recently been dumped, and very likely cheated on at the end of the relationship. Needless to say, I was fresh off of the "I-am-so-devastated-I-can't-eat-so-I-have-just-lost-twenty-five-pounds-yippee" diet.

I was ready to get on with it and put myself back in the market, fabulous new body and all.

I bought a scanner (back in the day, you know), filled out the personal and uploaded a flattering picture .

I received several interesting queries, including one from a pastor in his internship in West Des Moines. The irony being that my entire family was pastors: mother, father AND brother.

The comment I shrieked at my mother in the throes of my teenage rage, "I would rather DIE a horrible, painful death before I ever, EVER, marry a preacher," was quickly forgotten. Instead, I thought, "What they hey. I'll give a pastor a gander."

We had our first date, and although he was nice, I made the decision somewhere during dessert that I would "look a little further."

He talked too much. That, and he had a personalized license plate that said "Viking7" and a Denver Broncos and Wisconsin Badger and a Sigma Phi Epsilon sticker in each corner of the rear window of his Ford Escort.

There was a question of taste that was a little off, if you know what I mean, no matter WHAT team you were rooting for.

However, as he walked me out to my ancient Toyota Camry that evening, he held the door open for me and I slid into the driver seat. "I hope he doesn't kiss me," I thought as I got into my car. He didn't; instead, he gave me a nice hug and asked me when we would see each other again.

I wasn't really anticipating that particular question. I thought he would say "I'll give you a call," to which I would reply, "That sounds great!"

I would then avoid his phone calls until he gave up and stopped trying. But this "When can we see each other again" question threw a wrench in my plot. That, and he was holding open my door. I was trapped.

I felt a little warm as I began to sweat. "Um. I'm free on Wednesday?"

He beamed. "Wednesday it is." He let go of my door so I could shut it.

He grew on me. His chatter became comforting, instead of annoying, and we realized that we genuinely liked to be together. Our relationship became a comforting solace in which I could be myself, as neurotic and weird as that may be.

We were married a short time later. Probably too soon, in all honesty. Too soon for him to realize that the person he married is kind of shallow, has a serious weight problem and other psychological issues.

I bet he never, ever dreamed that ten years later he would be explaining that the Scots settled Nova Scotia, that "No, Hong Kong is not in Japan," and that Lebanon is not in South America to his wife .

I believe he genuinely thought that he would end up with another Smart Person, not just one with a decent grasp of the English language. A language that can be easily manipulated to sound as if she knows more than she actually does. It is a trick, in my opinion, most journalists use.

"Just use big words," they say to each other. "The general public must to be spoken to as if they are pre-pubescent idiots, anyway, so just use some obscure names and places, preferably Middle Eastern, and they will never, ever know that we don't know what the hell we are talking about."

He loves me anyways, though. And if not, he is stuck with me...weight problem, psychological issues and all.


Patti Haack said...

You are so funny! If it makes you feel better, I always thought you were smarter than me!

Heather said...

LOVE it! Seems like only yesterday (and 50+lbs lighter on my end) that I was watching the two of you get married!! So happy that you are still so happy!!

Anonymous said...

You are a treasure! Chris is not stuck with you!!!

Love you!!