Danny and I have very different brains.
While the epitome of the art student, Danny didn’t mind Calculus and Physics in high school. He’s better at numerical and spatial calculations. In fact, he’s probably a great illustrator because he can think spatially. I also think it has something to do with his love of golf.
I’m a writer and a graduate student in English. I took AP Calculus and did well, but I probably only overcame my hatred for all things math by writing notes to Bee about the homecoming dance and listening to the dulcet tones of Mr. Hazen (aka The Amazin’ Hazen). I am more of a grammar geek and word nut, and I’m a master speller.
Of course, we knew this about each other pretty early on. But “good at math” and “good at words” is a total oversimplification. We understand many things in completely different ways.
This is not a bad thing, of course. It makes our marriage interesting, and our different strengths come with different and useful skill sets. He can parallel park. (Well, he can park in general. I’m a terrible parker and somehow, in my mind, my car seems about three times as big as it actually is.) I can edit resumes and understand why the first sentence of your cover letter sounds weird. He can approximate distances — inches, feet, miles — in his mind. I can name that word that’s on the tip of your brain.
Every once in a while, though, we’ll have a conversation that just brings all of this to the fore. It’s like we’re speaking entirely different languages. Usually these discussions begin with driving directions. Danny finds his way around town by consulting the map of Houston that exists in his head — a map that includes the courses of all interstates, the numbers of their various exits, and a little compass rose that dependably indicates true north. I drive by landmarks. I remember where there is a Kroger flanked by a Starbucks and a Walgreens, and I sometimes orient myself in relation to the homeless man with the witty signs who sits at the intersection of the-interstate-I-take-to-work and the-road-that-leads-to-Chic-fil-A.
This drives Danny insane. Our conversations about how to get somewhere usually go something like this:
V: How do I get to Echo’s vet again?
D: Well, you get on 59 south…
V: Is that toward Rice or away from Rice? Do you pass the Berripop?
D: It’s south. Get on 59 south. And then you take the exit for Highway 6.
V: Isn’t there a sign near that exit? With a star? And isn’t it after that hotel with the weird name? Hotel Preet?
D: Maybe. I don’t know.
This should prove interesting in two weeks as we travel the short distance between Myrtle Beach airport and my dad’s condo in Surfside. (I hope the condo survives until then!) Because I remember that you pass an advertisement for Crabby Mike’s, and I think there’s a purple house on the left.