Despite her intelligence, my wife is the world’s worst dishwasher filler. She also cannot pack a car trunk. These seem to be related skills...or the lack thereof is. This leads me to the conclusion that she either did not have or failed at doing puzzles as a child. Life in post-war Germany included many deprivations, so perhaps puzzles were also rationed or non-existent.
Of course, I do not criticize. Instead, I let her think she has done well...and then rearrange items, which ensures that about twice as much fits and that everything is turned in the proper direction to ensure cleaning. As might be expected, I also pack the car for vacation, which she seems to accept as a man’s task.
I attribute my dishwasher-filling skill to my days at private school. I attended a church-sponsored school, which required all students to do daily chores. These were assigned and performed throughout the year. As with everything in life, there was a pecking order and some chores were more glamourous/desirable than others. At the top of the list was filling the dishwasher, despite needing to handle a flood of dirty dishes. One reason was the challenge of beating the machine, which moved at an incessant pace. The other appealing aspect was the amount of time needed for this chore: usually about twenty minutes. Other kids emptied the dishwasher and stored clean items, while the filler was off to enjoy his day. Few were chosen for such a task, because few had the coordination and timing needed to master it.
There are various reasons for not knowing something: actual learning disability, lack of information, laziness, some mental block, disinterest, or stupidity.
I will not attempt to label what lies behind the following conversation during a recent Euro 2012 football match (U.S. English translation: soccer game).
Wife: Why isn’t Messi playing?
Me: He’s from Argentina.
Wife: Why aren’t they playing?
The following analogy might explain this affliction: x is to geography as dyslexia is to reading. (There might be a word for x, but I have not heard it.)
NB. For any soccer ignoramus, who might be interested in learning something, Lionel Messi plays for Real Madrid in the Spanish league. He is one of the leading scorers in league play and often called the best player in the world (I do not agree). He failed to score in the last World Cup competition, which helped his teammates return home early from South Africa.
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.