Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Dumb and Dumber

My husband has a funny way of letting you know when he's aggravated. When something irks him, he expresses his frustration in question form. He shouts things like "Who does he think he is?" and "What does she think she's doing?" and "Why do they issue drivers' licenses to idiots?" And then he looks directly at me, as if waiting for an answer.

I usually give the same response - "I don't know." I estimate that I say "I don't know" between 20 and 30 times a day. If I manage to remind myself that I really don't have to provide an answer, I simply remain mute.

I see clients nearly every day. They ask a lot of questions, too. "How could she treat me like that?" and "Why can't I get the respect I deserve?" and "What's wrong with me?" They peer at me through their tears, awaiting some profound solution to their problems.

Sometimes I say "I don't know" to my clients, too. Other times I try to guide them through the process of finding their own truths by responding to their questions with, you got it, more questions. Occasionally I offer direct instruction. That generally elicits an expression of utter disbelief, accompanied by, "I can't do that."

I have two pre-teen daughters. It is a well-known fact that mothers of pre-teen daughters know nothing. The point is driven home with "the look."

Between the impossible questions, the resistance, and the eye-rolling, it has become painfully clear that I am the dumbest person I know.