10 things I can’t do

This may surprise you all, but… I’m not infallible.

There are things, I don’t mind admitting, that I can’t do. I WANT to be able to do them, but I can’t. I fail at them.

Obviously there are loads of things I can’t do by default, like menstruate. But I don’t WANT to do that and I’m incapable of doing that. It’s not that I’ve tried to do it and am unable to, I physically won’t be able to do that.

The things I am about to list are things that I have tried to do, often repeatedly, but no matter how hard I try I cannot do them.

Juggle without walking forward.

I can juggle to a degree. I can’t juggle anything except three balls, but I can keep them in the air a good while. But whatever position I start off in, I ALWAYS end up moving forward. It starts with a slight shuffle forward as I accidentally lean when I throw, so I have to move forward to catch what will soon be coming down. Then I end up walking forward as my own forward motion and the leaning combine and I have to move forward slightly faster. After about 10 second of juggling I am at a fast walking pace and still accelerating.

Usually at this point I realise that I am running out of room and have to drop everything, but hypothetically if I kept juggling AND going forward with the lean-and-throw technique, within 3 minutes I would be throwing the balls horizontally and running forward at the speed of sound.

Open my eyes under water.

I really cannot do this. The number of times I have plunged my face into water and tried to open my eyes is ridiculous. I know what I have to do, and I engage my eyelid muscles, but they just won’t open. It’s as though the seal is stuck and only contact with oxygen will release it.

Believe in ANYTHING paranormal.

Ghosts, god, astrology, palm readers, Ouija boards, tarot….

I used to say I don’t believe in these things, but I changed my phrasing slightly a few years ago. When I used to say “I don’t believe in god” it didn’t quite cover how thoroughly I felt. “I believe there is no god” is more precise. Saying you don’t believe sounds more like you’re saying there is one but you chose not to follow it, which I found a bit wishy-washy, and not in a panto way.

On the subject of ghosts and hauntings, I have no doubt that if I were to spend a night with the team on Most Haunted I’d be petrified. But that wouldn’t be because I believed the things that were happening, it would be because I would be surrounded by people who were all experiencing mass hysteria and screaming in terror is the sort of thing you join in with.

When you scream on a bus everyone looks at you, but do the same thing in a plane and everyone joins in.

If there is ANY possible reason other than “it’s paranormal” then I have to go with the “other reason”. At present nothing has happened that I don’t think can be explained a different way. Knocking can be caused by pipes, heating, outside influences, other people consciously or inadvertently, rats, birds….. or ghosts? I have to go with the explanations that have been scientifically proven to exist, like vermin and humans, before spirits.

Tarot, palm reading and astrology are all generic statements, not “predictions.” They’re the sort of thing that people make fit their own situation. “You’re the sort of creative person who feels they have great potential, but you feel others don’t notice it.”

I’d love to believe these things were real, but I can’t. And don’t.

Turn on taps without tapping them first.

Years ago I went through a bout of getting static electric shocks of everything. Supermarket trolleys, prams, door handles, the sink…. and taps.

I used to dread touching the taps on my sink at home, as I knew I’d get a shock off them. The only way I could get it not to hurt was to bring my hand down firmly on top of the tap, in effect slapping it. I was probably still getting a shock, but the pain cause by hitting it cancelled out the electric bolt pain.

And I’ve been wary of taps ever since.

Make that “beckoning-a-dog” clicky noise with my tongue.

REALLY cannot do this. I can’t even describe the noise accurately in text form on here, but it’s the noise that your Dad used to do when you were young, when trying to befriend a random dog on the street, like a “Ki Ki” noise with your mouth.

When I do it, I sound like a dental patient coming round from a full-mouth anesthetic, dribbly spit an’ all.

Watch singing on TV without my throat joining in.

Just so we are clear, I can watch singing on TV without singing along. My singing is awful. In the past, while singing, people have stopped me and offered me painkillers.

What happens is that, when I see a singer on TV, my throat engages and I automatically copy the notes internally, as if I were singing but without the noise. I don’t breathe out, or make an effort to be heard, but my throat follows the note involuntarily.

If you watch my neck while I am watching normal telly, it would be motionless. But if you watch my neck while I’m watching a singer on TV, you would see my adams apple bobbing up and down in unison, like a cork in a neck-shaped jar. (No, I’ve no idea either – my hands just typed it.)

Watching opera hurts.


One of the things that I used to do with my girlfriend 15 years ago, (who is now my wife and has been for the last 14 years,) was try to knit. She could knit anything, usually without the need for a pattern. It was second nature to her, like typing is to me. While typing, I can look around and have a conversation with no break in my typing speed. She could do other things while knitting like make a cup of tea or, probably, drive.

She once tried to teach me how to knit. She decided to teach me how to make a 10 x 10 square of “knit.” She did the first line on my needles, showing me each step, then she patiently showed me how to attach line two to line one. Then, unfortunately, she let me have a go.

Within 3 minutes with her own needles, she had knitted a perfect square. I had knitted what could be best described as woollen entrails.

I tried again over the following weeks and knitted a variety of things. I managed spaghetti, more entrails, a murder scene and a bowl of noodles without a bowl. They were all supposed to be squares, but all went badly wrong.

I’ve tried a few times since to get her to teach me again, but she just winces as if the pain returns with the memory.

Yawning without shaking my head left and right.

Years ago I yawned once and my jaw locked open. Since then I am really wary of yawning.

From that point I have always shaken my head while yawning, in an attempt to loosen it while I close my mouth.

It must work, because it hasn’t happened since.

Understand txt speak.

I just don’t get it. I’m ok with chatroom speak from years ago, like lol and a/s/l (which is going back about 10 years when I was young and able to learn new things) but I don’t get modern day txt speak.

It takes me longer to read the shorter words than it does to read the full versions. It takes me even longer still to attempt to type them into my phone, as I can’t understand what I’m doing while missing out letters on the fly. I often type the word out in full so I can read it, then have to navigate about to delete vowels and replace ate with an 8, etc.

Resolve misunderstanding by talking, after causing the misunderstanding by talking in the first place.

So this is the final thing I can’t do. If I accidentally say something that sounds a little offhand, or could be construed as insulting, I try to immediately rectify it by explaining what I meant. This often leads to me accidentally adding further and further accidental insults, or
digging myself in deeper and deeper, until I get to the point where I want the earth to just open up and deliver me a fiery blast from its molten core, permanently ending the awkwardness I’ve caused, eliminating mankind in it’s entirety, so not one single memory remains of the awful event.

Most people have that cut-off where they realise that the less they say, the quicker the situation will be over and forgotten. But I don’t seem to have that. In retrospect I can see where I SHOULD have stopped talking, but at the time I get so concerned that I’ve said the wrong thing I try to backtrack without thinking everything through, a little too eagerly.

When typing an email, I usually put a lot of thought into everything. I often type something out in full, re-reading and editing it many times before clicking send. With text you get to type it, check it, edit it, check it again and finally send it. There is also often a period of time between it being sent and being read at the other end, during which you could also forward extra things if, after another re-read, you spot things that may need clarifying.

But I don’t have this luxury with speech. It just comes out of my mouth and hits peoples ears without allowing that thought period in between.

What is even worse is that when I do it, I can feel the atmosphere change from a happy, friendly one, to an impending follow-me-to-doom one. And yet I’m completely powerless to stop it.

Conversations about womens ages never go well. I take “mature” to mean “grown up”, “serious” or “concentrating”, but it seems other people take it to mean “old”. Trying to get out of a conversation where you’ve just called a 30-something “old” never ends well.

“I don’t mean OLD, I mean you look like you’re concentrating like a grown up, with a thoughtful wrinkled forehead…… No, not wrinkles like old people get, you’re not OLD old, you’ve got ages left yet, I just mean you’re not as old as me yet are you……. No, I’m not saying you LOOK as old as me, I just mean that on an “old scale” you’d only be half way……..”

Age, height, gender, looks, speech, dialect, hair, shoes, clothes, writing….. very little is exempt from my amazing lack of conversational tact. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that ANY conversation that I have outside of my own head has quite a high chance of going the same way as the example one above.

I often wish there was an “end it all now” button I could press mid-conversation.

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