We all know them. Creatures of few words, they never use two words where one will do. And they always answer precisely the question you asked, rather than giving you the answer you were looking for.
“Did Chloe take the red or green lunchbox today?” “Yes.”
“How did you sleep?” “Lying down.”
“What kind of pizza do you want?” “Round and flat.”
They are highly intelligent, and they look at the world from a decidedly quirky angle. While it can easily drive the uninitiated to distraction, this quirky angle is also what gives them the edge in problem solving. They will find unique but effective solutions to problems others have given up on – generally involving a rubber band, a piece of string, and an obscure tool on a swiss army knife.
I call them Scenges because when I first identified the species, they were disproportionately represented in the Science Engineering degree (ScEng – pronounced skenj) at Monash, but you don’t have to have studied Science Engineering to be a ScEng. It’s a state of mind.
Consider my husband who, after watching me suddenly and unexpectedly throw up when I experienced severe morning sickness for the first time, said “Would you like your toast now, or shall I flush it straight down the loo?” Some might consider it callous, but it was perfect comic timing. I was poised on a knife edge between crying and laughing, in shock at the suddenness of what had just happened. His comment highlighted the absurdity of the moment and relieved the tension beautifully. It’s a Sceng gift.
You learn to watch your language around Scenges. Careless talk may not cost lives, but it can throw a brick wall across your train of thought. Casual invitations like “Would you care to join me in a glass of wine?” are unwise (“I don’t think we’d both fit.”), but not as dangerous as not specifying your requirements precisely. “I don’t mind what sort of tea you give me.” “Really? Mushroom tea it is, then. With anchovies.”
Scenges are some of my favourite people to have around. Cool in a crisis, ever resourceful, and always entertaining, they will drive you insane, but it’s a fun place to be.
Scengeness starts young. My 7 year old refuses to participate, but my 3 year old, Jane, has taken to it with relish. “What should I wear today, Jane?” “Clothes, Mummy. Clothes.” Really, with fashion advice like that, what could possibly go wrong?