Sometimes my brain forgets I’m the one in charge. It wanders into side streets and alleys where we both become lost. It’s annoying and on occasion, unnerving.
One moment I’m relating a story to a friend—I won’t pretend my delivery is riveting, but my enthusiasm makes up for any lack of it—when Zap, I’m left blinking, disoriented. I’ve lost my place. But I am not alone, because you see, the chances are whomever I’m chatting with, is fluttering sparse eyelashes too. We look at each other, yet neither is able to pick up the thread of my eager tale. We laugh, but I wonder if this meandering brain taking side trips without me is okay.
An incident occurred many years ago, which gives me hope. My daughter, then around four years old, charged up the stairs to her bedroom. She had been playing quietly in the living-room while I washed dishes in the kitchen, close by. Impossible to ignore, I heard her abrupt one-foot-one-stair-gait up the stairs.
Then, silence. I waited. What was she up to, I thought as I stacked dried stoneware?
“Ma, what did I come up here for?”
I swallowed giggles choking me, but called up the stairs, struggling for breath, “I don’t know, sweetie. You didn’t tell me.”
If a four-year-olds brain can take a detour, then this brain of mine must still be in decent working order. I hope.
When I’ve lost my train of thought mid-sentence, I’m ashamed to say, it’s occurred to me at times, my friend has not been listening or giving me her full attention. I am miffed, but only for a second or two because I have been on the receiving end of her conversation also. We are not unlike.
“Where was I?”
“Ah…” We’re both lost.
Another branch off this road of forgetfulness is what I call Word Search. Never mind those books one buys by the same name where you look through a jumble of words lined up this way and that. They wait to be circled if you can find them without an inch-thick magnifying glass. Hm. Isn’t this exactly what’s going on in my head? Words poised this way and that; words wanting to make sense.
I sit telling another enthralling story, hanging off the edge of my chair, vibrating with words which tumble out with exuberance only to stop dead. “What is the word I’m looking for?” I snap my fingers, scratch my head and look beseechingly at my fellow coffee mate. Anyone watching might shake their head thinking we’re practicing a mind-reading act. Not that I have the energy to worry about the rest of the world.
“Uh. I snap my fingers, Eyes fluttering like moths. “What’s that word, you know the one—it’s a colour—like the sun…”
“Oh, you mean yellow?”
“Yeah, that’s it! Yes, yellow…where was I?”
Recently I experienced this tiresome mind jousting again, my body and brain left limp as a worn-out dishrag. (If you don’t believe me, wait til your turn comes.)
Do you know what it means to defrag your hard drive?
I propose this scenario. When thoughts are lost, gaps are created making room for new ones, but the new ones don’t fit this spare space recently freed up, and overflow willy-nilly somewhere, anywhere else. Is this why I lose my vein of thought because my thoughts become scattered? Are my thoughts fragmented because the new ones haven’t been filed together?
Is there some way to test a defragmentation on my hard disk? I wonder if the thought wedges might be rearranged, joined where they belong together, to resolve this wild roaming into the blind alleys of my gray matter.
A person can’t help thinking about snaking and twisting…
“Where was I?”