Italian-style pasta salad and WTF, genius


I got my eyes checked last week. Dr. Jue said I have the worst vision of any of his current patients. (The competitive child in me felt a deep sense of satisfaction, even though we had moved into a conversation about “next steps,” which included “contact lenses AND glasses” and SURGICAL LENS IMPLANTS.)

But this is why I go to Dr. Jue: He also said he read a (“highly theoretical”) paper that said the reason severe nearsightedness has survived in the species is it’s associated with the most intelligent members of the tribe. As in, hunters have great vision, and cave painters/neuroscientists, who stay at home and work on things like art and science, have terrible vision.

“That makes sense,” I said, smiling blindly at the fuzzy peach bulb of his head, “because — I’m not sure if you knew this, Dr. Jue — I’m a genius.”

The fact that I got my IQ tested when I was four years old has been a source of irritation (and confusion) for all my boyfriends, because once I get them locked in I start mentioning my IQ. I AM A GENIUS. I DON’T CARE IF IT’S OBNOXIOUS BECAUSE I AM A GENIUS. And after my eye appointment, I dug up the paperwork from 1981 that PROVES I’m a genius so I could shove it in the face of Strong Jawline, who has trouble believing my IQ is anything above average (see evidence, below). Also he is getting fed up with my hashtag for him, which is “#notagenius.” For example, a recent text exchange:

S.J. (who tested his IQ because he’s convinced he’s smarter than I am NO YOU’RE NOT NO YOU’RE NOT): I got 128, from a 20 question online test. Not too bad. Especially since I guessed on the word jumbles.

Jenny: #notagenius

S.J.: My cleaver got rusty sitting in the sink overnight.

Jenny: #notagenius

S.J.: I got stung six times in the face moving my bees today.

Jenny: #notagenius

Also irritating to him is that my hashtag for myself is “#genius.” As in, I send S.J. text messages about smart things I do and then hashtag myself.

I know what you’re thinking: These people should have a kid together!

So, S.J. has reason to be skeptical about my intelligence. For example, I’ve lived in Oakland for four years, and although I commute to San Francisco four days a week, until last year I didn’t know the difference between the Pittsburgh/Baypoint and Dublin/Pleasanton trains, even though one of them is my train, because both have two words and all the words start with similar capital letters. So when one of these trains would come into the station, I would run onto it, look at the map on the inside wall, see if it went to my stop, and then either stay or jump off again into a throng of people still wanting to get on the train. I did this for every Pittsburgh/Baypoint and Dublin/Pleasanton train, every day.

One afternoon, I was standing in the BART line with my boss, when a train came into the station. She asked, “Is this your train?”

“I don’t know,” I said. “I get the trains confused.”

Boss: (Blink, blink.) “You don’t know how to get home?”

Jenny: “Well, the first letters are all the same, and they’re both two words, and, um.”

Boss: (Looked at the blinking red sign that said “Dublin/Pleasanton.”) “Is your stop [name of BART stop]?”

Jenny: “Yes.”

Boss: “This is your train. And it’s the only one that has a D in it, so think D is for dinner and you’re going home for dinner.”

Boss: #genius. Jenny: #notagenius.

Also Strong Jawline recently wrote to me that I’m not a genius because of things like running into tree stumps. He was joking. But the thing is, I HAVE run into tree stumps and parking meters and bike racks countless times, mostly because I’m reading (BECAUSE I AM A GENIUS), including one time years ago when I ran into a huge concrete bollard at the MacArthur BART Station and bruised both kneecaps. (Note to self: BART stations are dangerous to geniuses.) The bollards there are HUGE. They’re something like three feet across and they’re knee-high (as I discovered). It’s impossible to miss them — unless you have made the genius decision to READ A NEWSPAPER AS YOU WALK, which is pretty much the only thing that will completely block off that part of your peripheral vision.

Which is kind of genius, in a way.

For Italian-style pasta salad, you need:

  • 1/2 lb. pasta (this is some fancy kind called “chiocciole”)
  • 1 cup peas
  • 1 cup cannellini beans
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 TB kalamata olives, pitted (but I probably would have used more if I’d had more)
  • 3 TB fresh basil, chopped
  • 3-4 TB olive oil
  • Option: 2-3 TB feta cheese, crumbled (I meant to put it in, but then I forgot, and then I remembered, and then I was like, “Well. It doesn’t look like it really needs it.”)

You need to:

  • Cook the pasta.
  • Defrost the peas (if they’re frozen).
  • Chop everything if you haven’t already.
  • Combine.


5 Comments Add yours

  1. The. Best.


  2. This all sounds like pretty incontrovertible evidence of genius to me. There’s really no need to remember which train you need when every single BART car has a map inside of it. Save that valuable neuronal space for better things!


    1. That’s what I thought!! I save it for such important things as every detail of every boyfriend’s ex-girlfriends.


      1. That’s the kind of stuff you just can’t outsource to Wikipedia!

        Liked by 1 person

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