Among my many non-accomplishes is typing. Sometimes I pretend I can type and gallop along the keyboard not looking at my fingers. And type ‘muddle-aged’ instead of ‘middle-aged.’
Serendipitously, muddle age is a perfect description of where I am in life. Drop in for a visit and chances are you’ll find me gripping my head in a frantic attempt to keep my brains inside. Or at least the stuff I have crammed into my brain inside.
I misplace the end of sentences before I get there. I misplace my children’s names.
I misplace stanzas of songs, secret hiding places and crucial ingredients in a recipe.They are all someplace in my brain. Under stacks and piles of important information, interesting trivia and complete rubbish is filed everything I need to function.
But here’s the thing: the muddle-aged brain’s retrieval system is on overload.
Years ago, my infant brain had very little to fetch and carry. Its memory file was virtually empty, and needed only respond to signals that I was hungry, sleepy, lonely, or had something mushy in my diaper. Infant Brain, upon reception of any such data, simply roused itself from a peaceful nap, reached over to the single file drawer with the single folder and pulled out the lone sheet inscribed with one word. CRY. And I did.
By the time I and my brain reached our teen years we had acquired an increasingly complex and sophisticated storage system. Teen brain still used that CRY go-to folder, but had added file cabinets to store a dozen plus years of experience, acquaintances, analysis, and events. Of course, the file cabinets stood empty while the above data was flung willy-nilly in various brain corners, and covered in layers and layers of emotion.
So when Teen Brain needed to retrieve something, depending on its importance, it would kick at some piles and fling others into the air. The phone number of the cute guy on the bus was always remarkably accessible, while family rules regarding telephone usage were shoved in the dank cellar of my furthest brain cavity. The messy piles, however, were of manageable size simply because I was still young.
But now the I have reached the age of muddling. It isn’t that the bad habits Teen Brain and I developed re-surfaced. I truly have sorted and filed my events, experiences, data and trivia and etc. But several decades of material is stacked in a brain that not only isn’t very large, but has other important jobs to perform.
Here’s what the memory storage part of my brain looks like:
The warehouse at the very end of ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark.’
Remember? Where the ark is crated and unloaded in an enormous storage building amongst hundreds of thousands of other crates, containing who knows what?
Some Brain Crates contain the most precious of memories, like my father playing harmonica to my babies, and important stuff, like my social security number and my husband’s eye color. Others are packed with junk that I just can’t seem to get rid of, like the lyrics to ‘Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road’ and the memory of my grandpa’s Pomeranian eating his toenail clippings.
But they are all crammed and stacked and marked with smudged or confusing labels.
Is it any wonder that my brain and I either misplace a plethora of essentials or locate them at the wrong time?
When that happens, my brain reverts to default infanthood setting, dashes for that single sheet of paper and its lone word and comes back waving it triumphantly.
CRY? And I do.