Stupid Smart

My sister has been told that she makes her staff feel stupid.

She wondered why and finally figured out the reason.

They feel stupid because she treats them like they are smart.  Instead of just answering their questions, she explains to them the thinking behind the answer, so they will understand more.  That’s a family thing for us — we want to know the concepts, so we understand.

Some of her people like that, but some just get baffled, wanting a simple answer, and they assume that she is trying to make them feel stupid.

Imagine that: treat people like they are smart enough to understand, and some feel like you are trying to make them feel stupid because they have no interest in understanding. 

Should we just assume that they are too stupid to understand, and let them feel normal, or is there some sort of code we can look for that separates concept formers from keystroke people (those who just want to know what button to push, not why) and then take responsibility for other people’s level of engagement?

Is the only way to be stupid and satisfied for other people to be smart enough to recognize and honor our own stupidity?

Do we really have to be smart enough to never challenge the stupid so they won’t complain that we made them feel stupid?


My sleep was deep and banal. 

It was quiet, this being is my first night alone in the house, my parents setting off this morning towards Florida, and now tucked in their beds at a Comfort Inn in Maryland, where my mother checked in using the SKYPE based cordless phone over the hotel’s wifi.  I was pleased to know it worked.

It was a day of sleep and errands, cleaning up after the stress of packing them up.  My pride is located now in how well I take care of them, and I worked hard, from hours upon hours of sitting to have the car repaired, fresh soup my mother trashed, filling it with odd whole wheat pasta, and overcoking the zuchinni I had saved to add at the last moment so it would stay fresh, big blackberries as a treat for my father, to laundry and cleaning and marketing, coming up with a bicycle seat cover to ease my father’s bum hip.

I may have wanted the time alone, but I also wanted them to be cared for, so I was up until two, after going to fix a flat on my sister’s car, talking with my mother, and up at five thirty to tie up the ends my father had.  Then it was repairing the tire and all that, all the work to take care.

The time alone is trepedatious, so much pressure, so hard to be out there.

So I worked and cleaned and slept.  A solid sleep, the house finally down to 60 degrees, the way I like it, cool room, warm bed.

It was the sleep of the dead.  At least it was until the crash.

I woke with a beating heart as I felt hard objects fall onto me.  I reached for the lamp, but it was crushed beneath the objects, denying me the light I needed to understand what had happened.  My hand threaded though the crushed shade to find the switch, and I finally twisted it on.

In the bed with me were the large plastic cartons that had been piled into the corner of the room.  They had been pulled into the basment from their storage under the porch months ago.

These are the tubs that contain the vestages of my life and my choices, what is left of my wardrobe.  They need to go upstairs again for the first time in a year, need to be opened, need to be engaged.

And now, in the middle of the night, they leapt onto me, scaring me, though not hurting me, and demanding my attention.

All these omens, coming up.  The $7 shoes, the $15 wig and clearance skirts that jumped at me today, laden with the magic of my own clerical power.  The sales woman in the store that I had to look up to, tall, mature and graceful, reminding me of context, that other women were also big and visible.

And then there is the rainbow, a January rainbow that shone at me just a few days ago.

It’s hard to keep the faith.  It’s easy to dismiss signs.

But when they jump at you in the middle of the night, so hard that they make your heart pound, well, then it’s hard to ignore them.

Blessings be.