Parlor Spider...Step In, Little Fly

Insightful thoughts and/or rants from atop the soapbox from one who wishes to share the "right" opinion with everyone.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Perils of Academia

That's it? Really? That'll be $75.

"Since you teach at a university, I'll explain this slowly."

Somebody I didn't even know recently made this comment as he was attempting to explain the finer points of what he did. For just a second, I could see my dad's face superimposed on this guy's body, and my sweetie surreptitiously grabbed my arm in the nick of time before I could do something I'd regret. I mean, a total stranger feels he can impugn the limits of my ability to think outside the ivory-towered box? Really? He, of course, thought he was being clever while I thought he was being an a$$.
I'd heard this several times before in other contexts. Any time I struggled with something technical in the "real world," my dad would say, "Didn't they teach you that in college?" No matter what it happened to concern, it was obvious that higher education had not prepared me for the task at hand. He knew how to do a myriad of things about which I had no clue nor experience...and he was almost always correct, but now, as a dad myself, I see that I'm SUPPOSED to be right, to know how to fix mechanical things: it's what dads DO.Some things continue to frighten me with possibilities, especially the possibilities of disaster when I don't get it right the first time. Like water spraying all over the kitchen.
One of my tasks during the semester break was to figure out how to stop a kitchen faucet from dripping and wasting hundreds of gallons of water yearly. Actually, turing the handle just...SO...would stop the drip, but I knew that wasn't going to be good enough for long, and it wasn't. With only four days left before heading back to the eager students, I decided it was time to confront my fears and tackle this challenge head on. After all, I had a "Fix Everything In Your Home" manual and a whole set of tools: how hard could it be? Hard enough that I had put it off for weeks, that's how hard.
Step by step, I proceeded to dismantle the faucet, lining everything up in the order that I had taken it off as well as photographing every step of the process. (Yes, I remembered to turn the water off first!)
A trip to Home Depot resulted in a kit with more parts than I figured I would need along with a hearty "good luck" from the plumbing expert woman there. I think she secretly wanted water to spray everywhere so she could say, "Didn't they teach you anything in college?", but it was probably my father's ghost I heard chuckling.
I even invented a few other chores at home so I could delay the repair attempt, but finally, there was no choice but to give it a shot.
Truth? It was easy. I did not have to refer to the manual or my photographs. It was simply replacing one part with another in a sequence...following directions, really. Even turning the water back on provided no drama. It worked like a charm, and I felt foolish when I looked back at my groundless fears.
But I was still disappointed when my sweetie barely heralded my fabulous accomplishment.
"You fixed the faucet? Great. Thanks."
I guess she figured guys/dads SHOULD be able to do things like that.
Despite having a college degree.


At 8:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 8:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

(one should proofread first)

Ahhh - the differences between practical and book knowledge. My husband and I love this conversation. I'm the one with the college degree - he's the one with the job. And he LOVES that his hard earned income pays my student loan every month too.


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