Thursday, March 8, 2007

Humility Begins at Home

I sell technology for a living, and spend my days explaining VoIP, routers, power over ethernet, SIP, and other relatively "cutting edge" technology. Often I show coworkers how to use our devices, and have even impressed large corporations with my understanding of technology.

I admit, I might have been feeling the teensiest bit proud of myself--for a liberal arts person to even survive in a technology-driven industry takes quite a bit of effort. One has to not run screaming from the room when others start discussing bandwidth and data speeds. One has to learn to care about network capacity. This is all quite a turn for someone who was commended in college for her ability to write sonnets. I was feeling a bit smug--until last weekend.

At the age of 5, David explained resistors & LED lights to me, using an electronics kit for children (probably more for my benefit than his). Now at almost 7, he has graduated to real electronics, and has a box of circuit boards, resisters, and other squiggly wires that he has yet to explain to me. On Saturday he told me, complete with heavy sigh, that he wished ladies were better at electronics. I was tempted to tell him that I could hold my own with most first graders on the subject, and could even amaze some adults on the subject, but he clearly would not have believed me. Then he brought me several odd pieces of wire, a chart printed off a university website, and asked if I could label his resistors for him. As he and Andy were about to go to the store, he handed them to me, wished me luck, and ran out the door. Now I know Latin, some Greek, and a smattering of French, Spanish, and Italian, and can promise that the paper he gave me didn't make sense in any language I knew. Fortunately Andy came in and I could have him explain things to me, so I was able to label the resistors before David returned, though it did not seem to redeem women in David's eyes at all. He took his electronics pieces back to his room to do experiments with diodes, which Andy has promised to explain to me after he brushes up on them. Who says education ever stops?????