No, more muddle-headedness instead, I’m afraid. I spent most of the day in a state of faff. The Sage and I went to pick some beetroot, with permission, from a neighbour’s garden and when I was in the shop getting more quinces I realised that I hadn’t got my handbag. It wasn’t in the car and it was far more likely that I’d left it behind than that I’d lost it. We went back; that was what happened, but I’d been so flummoxed that I forgot all the rest of my shopping (no, I didn’t have money, just a husband with a wallet) and had to go back into town.
I’ve just had an irritated few minutes, the extent of which I hope I hid, explaining to the Sage what an ATM* is for. I’d needed to check if a cheque had been paid in and rather than go to the bank, I used said machine. I told him disappointedly that the money is not there yet and it took a long time for him to catch on to the fact that I hadn’t needed to go to the bank, queue and ask. “I don’t have a credit card, so why should I know?” I left aside the detail that you don’t, except in an emergency, use a credit card in an ATM (because it was reasonable not to know that) said that they’ve been around for long enough for their purpose to be general, not specific, knowledge.
If you’re as old as I am (and I know, darlings, hardly anyone is. I have, in the past few years, moved from being younger or about the same as most people I know to being quite considerably older, especially in the Land of Blog) then you had General Knowledge tests at school. If there were a few minutes spare at the end of the lesson, of if it were a wet playtime, then there would be a swift round-the-class general knowledge or mental arithmetic test. You were expected to know stuff. Now, most people don’t, or so it seems. And knowledge has become so focused that anything outside your immediate sphere of work is far too abstruse to be expected to know. For example, an intelligent and well-educated woman of my acquaintance, agreeing to take minutes at a meeting, said “Although I’m a Biology teacher, you know, not English, so I can’t do spelling and grammar.” Likewise, a mathematician explained that she knew nothing, of course, of history, geography or poetry.
The Sage is a bit of a master of this himself. He knows a vast amount about an array of things that interest him, and has a wide range of abilities as well, but he has no idea of the simplest of things outside those. And he isn’t interested in knowing anything for its own sake. I don’t get this at all. I think just about anything is interesting. I don’t at all deny that this makes me a dilettante and a flibbertigibbet, but it keeps me amused, and that is, after all, a fundamental purpose of my life.
Anyway, the money hasn’t been paid in. This isn’t important, as all it meant that I didn’t write a cheque for most of it, and I will do that when it has been. However, if it had been there today, I would have been instantly jollied into going out for lunch. I had it all planned. Instead, I went home and ate toast.
I have cracked the USA, Canada and the Middle East, but have still to perfect Africa and Eastern Europe. Then I’ll move on to Asia, the State capitals and the English counties (when I can find a suitable quiz). I don’t think I’ll ever be able to learn Wales. I’ve never even got my head round the current names of the counties. They are still Pembrokeshire and Cardiganshire to me, and I don’t know how to spell Clwyd.
*Obviously, I didn’t call it that. Obviously.