Heard someone the other day (in the elevator) refer to someone as being clueless. We’ve all heard, maybe used, that term about someone at one time or another. When it is used, it’s usually in the context of a given category or subject matter. A person is rarely totally clueless, rather clueless about a certain topic, subject or activity.
But being clueless is different from being ignorant or unknowledgeable, isn’t it? I’d hate to name all the things I’m ignorant about. Would that make me heavily clueless? (ok, maybe).
Maybe because we all can’t know everything about everything, we are expected to be unknowing in certain areas. We might say it’s normal to be clueless about some aspects about our universe. Or perhaps clueless refers to those areas where we happen to have ventured and know nothing about. If I am riding with a group of cyclist, I should have some accumulated clue about how to ride in a group. If I rode in that group without clue, I could be putting myself and them in danger.
Part of our ongoing challenge as humans, indeed the excitement of learning and observing, is gathering clue. Some are lucky to have been born with lots of clue (instinct) in certain areas. Most of us try to stockpile as much clue as we can. Clue helps us stay alive. It helps us run more efficiently.
My sister M seems to have lots of clue about many things. She’s worked at it over time. She runs her life very efficiently. If she needs to do something or go somewhere new, she’ll take the necessary steps to acquire enough clue to make it happen. I don’t think she has any penchant for being all clueful. She is just practical, and efficient, and a good clue gatherer.
We sometimes mix our adjectives when describing ourselves in certain circumstances; for example being clueless, uneducated, ignorant or unwitting. They are all different though. Clue is something developed by synapse linking. Clue could be something taught, but most times and the more valuable clue is discovered, investigated, a self realization, connecting the dots.
I might be good at cooking eggs. In fact, I make quite perky looking sunny side up eggs. But when it comes to cooking with spices for the right blend of taste, aroma and enhancement, I have not connected nearly enough dots. I’m relatively clueless.
And clue should not be confused with misplaced attention. With the proliferation of mobile devices many people walk and drive around with thoughts and attention totally given to the device while proceeding to do something which may otherwise seem like they are clueless, when in fact they have clue. For example, texting while driving and then crashing or talking while walking into a bike lane and getting run over. Those are examples of multi-tasking breaking the clue synapse.
We also want to be careful about charging someone (or being charged) as clueless when it’s a “space out” moment. We all have those space moments. It’s when a thick, fog-like substance clouds the clue, momentarily blocking it. Doesn’t mean we don’t have it.
The guy who walks around with his fly open may or may not be clueless. Maybe it was a one-off attention misdirection at time of closure. Most likely it was a space moment, because it’s rarely due to lack of clue.
Although clue could have something with attention and observation with a dash of knowledge and savvy. For example, the majority of cashiers where I shop for food return change and receipt together. I usually put bills back in my pocket where bills go and I don’t want to include the paper receipt. So rather than efficiently stashing the bills into the billfold in one motion (my billfold is only my bills folded), it’s an annoying extra step of separating the receipt then stashing the bills. Every once in a while, I’ll run across a cashier who has clue with change giving. That cashier, rather than the lame motion of handing you everything at once (easier for them), does the more efficient step of handing you your change while placing the receipt in the bag. She indirectly accumulated (much appreciated) clue.
On the other hand, we don’t want to be too clue focused. Life does need a certain amount of spontaneity. Gathering clue is half the fun and you can’t gather clue you already have.
A certain amount of cluelessness is good. Clueless keeps us motivated, challenged. Just a little is even better though. It may be fun diving into murky water without knowing what’s beneath the surface. But it might make doing a full summersault exhilarating if we had gathered just a tad bit of clue thereby maximizing excitement and anticipation in that clue gathering process.
What’s the point? You guessed it. I’m clueless.