*Lisa’s first Midlife Crisis post was hysterical. This one is more along the lines of open hysteria. Hey, back off, she’s old and she’s entitled.
Yesterday I went to an Apple store. Not to buy a hip new device for myself, but to have my daughter’s MacBook examined. A pleasant, seemingly intelligent young man diagnosed the problem as a malfunctioning cord. Because it was under warranty, I could have it replaced, but one of the Apple Geniuses would have to look at it first. They were very busy little savants that day, so I had to make an appointment.
I returned today at the scheduled time and was logged in by a blue-shirted, apparently sub-genius level individual, and I awaited my appointment with the true Genius. Unsurprisingly, he also decided it was the cord and replaced it. I left the store feeling unsettled. At first I thought it may have been the irritation of having to verbally refer to the Apple employee as a genius. And that did annoy me. I said it grudgingly and under duress.
But enough that going to Morgan and York to buy a case of wine could not lift me out of my funk? This may be a first. I love the feeling of security an entire case of wine brings. At home, gently placing my new purchases on the racks in the basement, the source of my distress came to me: I am not a genius. I think the Genius Bar at Apple stores is a foolish affectation, but I can rest assured that Apple would not consider me a genius. The MacArthur Foundation is not going to come pounding on my door. As the forties have taken their toll I find it hard to remember simple words such as… door or… pancakes. I stand around with a frying pan and say things like, “Does anyone want some…umm…uh…round things. Fried round things? You know.” Then I wave the pan helpfully at my staring children who just can’t believe how pathetic the sad wreck in front of them really is.
With my IQ points running gently out of my ears, I face the facts: I am never going to be a genius. And this is the crux of every good mid-life crisis–the first time you truly look at yourself and realize what you will never be. Previously, I had a small flame of possible genius flickering in the back of my mind. After all, I had so much ahead of me. But now? It fades a little more every morning as I force myself out of bed to face a job with reduced hours and increasing difficulty, another rejection letter, another couple of pounds, another crop of gray hair–and the only comfort I have is that in a few years my tired old brain probably won’t remember any of this.