I am a smart person.
I have read a lot of books.
I listen to NPR.
I know the basic rules of grammar and I can do long division and my taxes.
Buying this property and trying to renovate it has made me feel dumb. Real, real dumb.
We have spent many hours in conversation with realtors, contractors, engineers, designers, and city planners. And in most of those conversations, I find myself smiling wanly and nodding because I have absoluely no idea what we're talking about.
I-beams? Tax abatements? Variances? "Oh, yes, " I say, earnestly. "Of course." Of course I cannot put a window here because the flashing needs to extend X inches in either direction. "OK." OK, we will need to sheath the diameter of the basement in plywood sheets to improve earthquake resilience. "That makes sense." I have no idea if that makes sense. But when an idea is presented with authority by a man carrying a very, very large level, I tend to give him the benefit of the doubt.
It's not that I don't know things. As I've mentioned before, I can do long division (slowly, with a pen and paper). And I know EXACTLY how the bathroom will look once I can get in there and rip out the shower stall, tear up the flooring, and cut out the drywall. I've never gutted a room before. But I know what I'm going to do in there.
On that day, I will be smart again.