Here I am on Wednesday night suffering miserably from what I’m positive is a sinus infection, something that’s been killing me now for about four days – and that is finally dragging me stubbornly to the doctor tomorrow. Enough is enough, I tell this foreign species trying to make me its host.
My two days across the state were long, sniffly, and uncomfortable because of this stupid sickness. As I sat in line waiting to board the company jet bound homeward, sniffling and hacking and blowing my nose, the guy next to me pulled a bottle of that Airborne snakeoil from his bag and popped one. I couldn’t blame him…
Where I work I’m surrounded by smart people. I interact daily with people who have gobs more brainpower than I do, so intelligence is something I feel like I’ve come to take a bit for granted. Because of this, when I meet someone who stands out above the normal din of firing synapses I encounter daily, it’s something I take note of. Over the past couple days, I met a guy like that. Not an engineer, but a finance guy. Talked miles above me, talked about things that made no sense to me, “betas to the market,” and “the earnings ratios of S&P500 companies,” and how the treasury and federal reserve and interest rates and securities work. It’s like the guy stepped right out of a Bohemian Club weekend for a few days to rub elbows with the serfs.
I like meeting people like that. It’s humbling. And, while this guy likely wasn’t trying to, he had me walking the tightrope at the edge of my conversancy. I was hanging on by my fingernails, jumping in when I thought I could make a comment that wouldn’t immediately illuminate my comparative ignorance. The beers and lobster helped; I can talk about beer and lobster. I can wax about the Dow dropping forty points over the course of my waffle at breakfast. I can tell you how many takes it took the Beatles to record “Hey Jude,” and from which of those recordings the version you know from the radio was assembled. I can tell you my best-known-method for calming down a seemingly inconsolable two and a half year old girl who wants to play “for a couple more minutes” before taking her nap.
I guess everybody is different kinds of smart.