God, but I am good at giving advice. Sometimes it feels like I’m channeling the wisdom of all the greats–Freud, Jung, Dr. Ruth, Dear Abby. The words fly off the tip of my tongue, flow out the end of my pen, and pounce my fingertips over the keyboard with lightening speed. I’m on target. I’m insightful. I’m often ill-timed and unwanted.
For some reason, whenever someone actually asks me for advice, I’m blank. I come up with cliche’s that barely apply or I nod and smile wondering why the hell anyone thinks I have any answers about anything.
But if you’re a stranger, say a female browsing the kids clothes at Target loudly complaining into your Blue Tooth about unwanted facial hair while the hair on your head is thinning, I’m ready and armed with suggestions to get your hormones checked. I’ll have allegorical examples and I may even offer doctor names and phone numbers. Usually I’m received with dirty looks and nasty “mind your own business” responses. Sometimes people retreat out of fear. So far no one has called for security, so I guess I haven’t done any real damage.
My poor family and friends put up with it, usually with few complaints. They may have tuned me out at this point, I’m not sure if I’d know. Occasionally I’ll recognize myself in their troubles and wonder why I was never able to give myself that same kind of advice. More often I wonder if perhaps I have an as-yet-unnamed form of Tourette’s Syndrome. Perhaps one day as I rant about in a Senior Center, there will be a note in my file reminding the caretakers I suffer from Unwanted-Opinion Disorder. Hopefully my children will have forgiven me by then.