The Perfect (Martini)

There are days when I feel proud of where I am in my life and the control I maintain — or appear to maintain — over all the moving parts: home, work, bills, hobbies…Paris.

And then there are days (like yesterday) where I want to weep “I am a competent human being, I swear!” into my martini. (Dry, with three olives–for a bad day–gin; stirred, not shaken  — I’m not a heathen!)

It’s part of the curse of holding yourself to an impossible standard: I’m mortified that I didn’t have information that I had no way of getting. (Additionally, let us note that this impossible standard doesn’t seem to be the best way generate high performance. Interesting.)

It’s one more downfall of a world where I don’t write both sides of a conversation. In the writing part of my work, I control all knowledge — if something isn’t known by me, it isn’t known by anyone in the (imaginary) space. I am always the smartest person in the room.

I’m sure this has never had a negative impact on my relationships.

But sometimes–sometimes–in my day job I find myself confronted with people who know more than I do (or think they do), and sometimes I’m forced to confront my lack of knowledge like a train confronts a brick wall.

Sometimes I find this humiliating.

Of course, the goal of my growth trajectory has to include my judging myself on how I do when I don’t have information rather than whether I have unattainable information before I need it. It’s the whole “you can only control you” blather that is, tragically, tragically true.

But. (As a recent story concept reminded me.) Impossible standards aside, striving for skills, knowledge, and craftsmanship that are just out of reach is how I grow.

In pant size if nothing else. Blame it on the martinis.


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