Friday, February 11, 2011

I Haven't Been There

Tomorrow, I'm planning to redeem my Groupon coupon for a beginner beer brewing kit from Mid-South Malts. I've promised my wife that I'll refrain from actually trying out the kit until I'm out of the cast and able to walk sans crutches. After nearly a year of talking the talk, I'll finally be walking the walk. 

I think at least part of my procrastination stems from the fact that it's quite humbling to walk into an environment knowing you'll know less about the goings on than pretty much anyone else there. "Act like you've been there," I often tell myself in such situations, even though I know in my gut that feigning expertise or knowledge is the surest defense against actually learning something new. When I was a Confirmation candidate in the Episcopal Church many years ago, I spent more time trying to show others in my class how much I already knew (not much, actually) than sitting quietly or asking questions about things I really didn't know (a whole lot). Running stores, music stores, bookstores--all of these have been the scene of my putting on the airs of being an expert of some sort only to walk out with less than I came for (and with my ego either puffed or deflated, depending on how the interaction went).

But here's the thing: I really, really don't know how to brew beer, and I want to learn how. I need instruction in even the most basic information about equipment, ingredients, and processes. I'm guessing that my chronic know-it-all-ism will attempt to shift my focus from simply brewing beer to Being Someone Who Brews Beer, even though I've not brewed a drop. 

I'm hoping I can ignore it this time.

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