With the arrival of spring in Chicago comes a return of Cars & Coffee meets. This morning, I attended a meet at Collector’s Car Garage in Chicago. This place bills itself as a sort of country club for car owners. Unfortunately, photography is prohibited within the warehouse, where some seriously rare and valuable cars lurk (Mercedes C111 anybody?). Not to worry though; there were plenty of things to point a lens at outside.
You take him in, his emotionless face as he himself takes your confession in. He doesn’t move a single muscle, except for his dark eyes that meet yours.
“Let me explain, won’t you? It all started in 1934-…”
Detective Do’s face broke, and his eyes grew crazed, wide and screaming as the realization dawned upon him. You paused, swallowing back the lump in your throat before starting yet again;
“My story starts in Siheung, 1934, in Korea under Japanese rule, with a handsome, rich man named Kim Jongdae.
Jongdae was only a year older than me and the son of a Japanese doctor and car collector whom had found a wife and settled down in Korea. His mother was Korean and his father was as mentioned, a rich Japanese man. This enabled the family riches with seemingly no limit, however, despite what you might think, that was not the reason why I loved him.
I was staying the summer at my aunt’s house in Siheung, close to the Kim family’s mansion, and one beautiful morning as I took a stroll, I bumped into him. My simple plan to stay with my aunt for the summer turned into me being so forcefully pinned down by his adoration and this luxurious ring he pushed onto my finger. We fell in love so quickly, quicker than any car his father owned. And still, to this day, - I wish his father hadn’t ever received that new car that faithful day.”
Siheung, Korea, 1934
You stormed through the grand halls of the familiar mansion, not caring much if you stumbled into a door being pushed open or one of many expensive vases. Actually, you’d love it if Ms. Kim had redecorated to your wishes, your fist was itching to break something irreplaceable. As you ran, your cheeks flushed with embarrassment and your stomach was tight with rage. Just how could he?
“Y/N, darling-” His voice was loud, closing in on you as you jogged through the empty living area, almost stumbling over the thick edge of the foreign carpet. With an annoyed huff, you closed in on the front door. You saw the light on the end of the tunnel but just as you reached for the door handle, your fiancé grabbed hold of you and tugged you into his chest. Only for you start squirming stubbornly under his hold, of course. He huffed sadly, jokingly at your struggling.
Uuuuuugh I was trying to read a new romance and immediately had to stop because it was doing the Thing, the “big vocabulary = genius” and “geniuses are better than other people” thing.
Look, you know who gets really invested in being an Official Genius ™? People who feel like they don’t have anything else. If the best thing about you is how smart you are, what does that say about your relationships, your creativity, your purpose in life? I used to cling to being smart like a life-raft. I used it as an excuse not to deal with my anxiety disorder. I didn’t need to leave the house or talk to strangers, they wouldn’t understand me anyway. I was smug and condescending about my grammar and punctuation. It got me nothing worth having.
Hiding behind your IQ is cowardly. Unless you do something with it, you’re like those car collectors that just keep beautiful cars in a garage and never drive them. Going to grad school and med school, being around people who self-select and are selected to be very smart, being around people who are measurably, objectively, smarter than me, was very good for me. Because there are people who are smarter than me and better than me at all those things I sneered at or wrote off–better at communication, building relationships, being thoughtful and kind. I couldn’t pretend that the things that made me sharp-edged and unpleasant were just about intelligence. It was me, it was my learned behaviors.
I’m not what I want to be, but I’m a lot closer to it than my parents, who still treat IQ as the be-all end-all of human worth.
Which is why I’ve gone from loving the asshole genius trope to finding it repellant. It’s not the genius that makes them an asshole. It’s being an asshole. In real life, people like Dr. House or BBC’s Sherlock would be unendurably irritating. I have no interest in being subjected to shitty behavior from someone who thinks they’re above the rest of us because they’re smart.