Friday, November 19, 2010

Sometimes It Certainly Feels Like Rocket Science

Have you ever walked away from a conversation - typically a work conversation or a particularly geeky conversation - and thought to yourself, "Wow! How the hell do I even know what that conversation was about?"

This happens to me occasionally - again, usually in the context of work - where I'll finish up a discussion and then wonder how in the world do I even know what HAAT means?! (Height Above Average Terrain for pretty much everyone who's not me or doesn't work with me in that technical capacity.)

It's just not...natural.

I must confess, it used to happen a lot more often when I was working tech support and knew what TCP/IP meant. But, even now, occasionally it'll catch me off guard and I wonder how I ever managed to pick up some of this stuff, be able to speak to it intelligently, and, what's more, understand what other people are attempting to convey via cryptic acronyms and strange lingo.

Frankly, my education has always leaned toward the liberal and/or fine arts. Talk to me about Max Weber or the young Hegelians and I might get a hard on. Quote William Blake or Charles Baudelaire or, be-still my aching heart, Walt Whitman and I might swoon. Play for me Chopin's Nocturne in E minor, Op 72, #1 and I will likely weep.

But cat5 cables? PCI compliance? VoIP?

Who even speaks that language naturally?

It's like...having a total Talking Heads' Once in a Lifetime know, "How did I get here"?

I have no idea.

I'm just a girl who grew up in Wyoming. A girl who spent her summers either bottle feeding baby calves at her uncle's ranch or cleaning rooms at her great-aunt's hotel. A girl who, for all practical purposes, was never particularly practical in any of her pursuits.

So how did I get here? How have I gotten the jobs I've had, held the conversations, managed to thrive in an environment where the discussion is much less about Karl Marx1 or Tchaikovsky and much more about the CDE (Colorado Department of Education) or the FCC?

Right time, right place? The ability to bullshit my way through anything? A friend of mine once said, "You know what I love about you? Even if you don't know the answer to my question, you've got this crazy ability to make one up that sounds right."

Is that insight? A keen sense of reasoning? Super powers?

Does anyone else question how they got where they are, knowing what they know now? Or do you all just take it for granted that you know what you know just cuz you know it?

No, really. I want to know how you know what you know.

1: My Classical Sociological Theory professor, Professor Parker, said once that he always thought a great name for a band would be "Karl Marx and the Young Hegelians". I always thought that was hysterical. But, looking back on it, it's pretty geeky.


MsSparrow said...

oh how I love Chopin...

I have TONS of useless knowledge crammed away (as you know) such as random facts about William the Bastard (or Conqueror depending on who you ask)and the Norman Invasion of England. Or basics of color theory. And so on, most of the random stuff that pops out of my mouth when watching Jeopardy or playing Geeks Who Drink I have NO idea how or when I learned. They just... appear. Maybe it's magic?

zero hour said...


Jonathan Finger said...

As you know I can partake in the geekyness with you on pretty much any level. You may not have known however, that I performed that Chopin Nocturne in my early teens.... I can probably drag it back out of the depths of my memory for you at some point. :)

Anonymous said...

Oh's amazing the things one picks up along the way....