I just read a recipe on the Bon Appetit website and realized I had all the ingredients to make it, not just the onions and beef which I would always have had but the three inches of ginger root, the sesame oil, and the fresh lemon, not to mention the bok choy he suggested as a side dish. It made me think, “Huh. Maybe I’m a cook.” Mostly it made me feel competent. Which made me happy.
And that’s when I realized how rarely I feel competent.
Right now it seems like I’m screwing up everything I touch (except in the kitchen where I’m amazing) while in the background, my government is screwing up everything it touches. I’m wondering if I’m not getting an incompetence low off of Trump and Barr and the rest of them, the same way I used to get a pot high off the kid smoking it next to me in college (I’m asthmatic, so I tended not to smoke which is ironic because I think pot is actually good for asthmatics . . . where was I? Competence is focus, Jenny.)
So I’m looking at Nita and thinking, “In heaven’s name, what am I DOING?” (old Wile E. Coyote quote) and wondering why I ever though I was a writer. Which might be the reason that when somebody shows up in my eyeline who’s quite clearly competent, I sigh and relax a little and get happier. A competence high.
I felt that way when Marie Yovanovitch testified: here was a woman who knew what she was doing and, even though she was surrounded by clowns and jokers, came out of that hearing a hero with actual applause. Or when Dr. Fauci speaks.
It’s the way I feel when I go to my therapist; here’s somebody who can see clearly where I can’t and will shove me on my way.
It’s the way I always feel when I look at at an Ann Telnaes cartoon.
It’s why I felt so happy when I read and re-read the Murderbot books this week, because the author and the central character are competence porn in the flesh (or augmented flesh).
Seeing competence makes me happy and gives me something to strive for.
What made you happy this week?