Saturday, June 3, 2017

Forecast Calls For Fog

Many of us have started to suspect our minds have done some economizing. Downsized on neurons. We just don't seem to have that same snap we used to, and it's harder to learn things, remember things, or even pay attention. It's particularly obvious when we hang out with younger people and discover we're not really tracking what they say at all.

Younger brains need to work faster because no matter what they're thinking about, they're also thinking about sex, whereas once we've made a note of where the nearest toilet is, we're all set, thought-wise. It's nothing to be ashamed of. In fact many spiritual seekers in the world struggle for years to achieve the same kind of blankness that we maintain effortlessly. Still, it can be concerning to discover that your mental acuity took the same bus out of town your hormones did.

Fortunately, you can exercise your brain in the comfort of your own home. Let's take a common scenario. Just to up the ante, let's assume you are in conversation with a young person; one of those annoying polite ones who is looking at you in anticipation while waiting for you to finish your sentence, even though maybe you weren't planning to finish it just then, thank you very much. You have both glanced out the window as a bird flies by. "What kind of bird is that?" your young friend says, which is just typical--they know everything about the Internets but they don't know birds! Unfortunately, you don't either, so you give it a good squint and then get up to look in the field guide, which is in the next room, twenty steps away. Now you have arrived at your bookcase and are facing it, but you don't know why. It's a puzzler! So let's solve it. Let's make a brain game out of it.

First, let's assume your feet had a perfectly sound reason for bringing you to this spot, and let's further assume that what was on your mind thirty seconds ago is in fact related to something in this room, possibly something right in front of you. What could it be? Let's look for clues. There's the dictionary. This is a promising start: odds are always really high you were about to look up "hegemony" again. You pull out the dictionary and it opens right up to "hegemony" and your missing tweezers fall out. Awesome! You tap your face to see if your main chin hair is long enough to pluck, and it isn't, but there is a bump you don't recognize. You go to the bathroom to have a look in case it's cancer, but it looks more like dried oatmeal, so you wash your face, and take the hand towel to the laundry room to toss it in the washing machine, and darned if the machine isn't full of damp clothes already. Which obviously is what you meant to do: hang out the laundry. The rack is already full so you fold the dry clothes and take them to the bedroom and on your way back to take care of the wet clothes you pause by the bookcase again. Hmm. There was something about the bookcase. You stare at it for a while and then go back to the original room, where your young friend is holding up her phone and saying "Wilson's Warbler?"

For some reason.

You peer at the phone and sure enough there's a picture of a bird of some kind on it and you shrug, but it's irksome, trying to make sense of these non sequiturs all the time. And does she ever get her nose out of that thing? Kids. You, on the other hand, have folded laundry and put it away, plus there was that other thing you were going to do, which will come to you eventually. What the hell is she smiling about? She probably needs spell-check to spell "hegemony," which you really should look up sometime. Little shit thinks she's so smart but she wouldn't recognize a road map if it came up and bit her on the bloomers. Honestly, the whole generation: show them a card catalog, they'll be looking for the cup-holder. And ain't none of them knows how to drive a stick, do they? Huh! That's what I'm talkin' about.

Pretty sure that's what I was talkin' about.

48 comments:

  1. On the other hand, you could have been talking about hegemony.....

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  2. Destinesia: the inability to remember why you came into a room. No, it's not in the dictionary. My husband made up this word to describe this feeling. It's telling that we needed a word to describe it. You're not alone, Murr. ....What were we talking about?

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    1. That is an awesome word. I'll use it, if I can remember it.

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    2. I actually have a notebook that I write words, phrases, and quotes that I find awesome, but I know that I won't remember, or will remember badly. I call it my "quotebook".

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    3. Destinesia! Mine is acute. Just in the act of making dinner I'll find myself hesitating in front of an open cabinet door a dozen times, trying to figure out what is in there that I thought I needed FIVE SECONDS AGO.

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    4. Well, whatever it was is now probably zesting your pot of whatever and you've just forgotten to close the damn' door!

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    5. great word but i doubt he made it up. it's among a list of other sniglets circulating the internet from several years ago.

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  3. Seriously? There are different kinds of birds?

    And ain't none of them knows how to drive a stick, do they?

    Probably none of them know how to make a flint arrowhead, either. Times change. Faster and faster, in fact. Relax -- the esoteric-seeming gadget skills of today's 20-somethings will be similarly obsolete soon enough.

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    1. I had an emergency canning session a couple years ago, and went to the local Home Depot to get more jar lids. I asked the greeter where the canning supplies were. "Canning supplies!", he exclaimed incredulously, "My grandma used to do that." The man was old enough to be my father, so that was a real low blow.

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    2. We're going to be needing those flint arrowheads again pretty soon, once the Floridians start trying to invade.

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  4. Oh, lord, I laughed at this. SO FAMILIAR. All I can do is recognize that those young things will eventually be in the same boat; the unfortunate part is that I won't be here to see it. It has been ever thus.

    Except the young ones might just have AI in their brains by the time they'd otherwise be senile. And that wouldn't be fair at all.

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  5. Oh, how I love the picture.

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  6. Unfortunately, that sounds like perfectly normal behavior to me!!

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  7. You dear goof. That position you're in for the first pic--that loosely meshed, forward hung position with the vacuous facial expression?--that looks really familiar. i've seen on several front pages lately. Would you try that again, maybe with a long red tie dangling between your knees? Huh.

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    1. I mean, you instinctively chose The Dementia Pose to look clueless. He does it for real! You've seen it, right? With Angela Merkel, with Putin, and others.

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    2. Okay, with the clarification, your comment is acceptable.

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  8. That marching purposefully into a room and wondering why thing? I have it. Destinesia is a perfect description.
    I suppose/hope my missing neurones are getting some exercise somewhere. Which is probably a good thing.

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    1. Oooo! Now I'm visualizing neurons marching! Marching in place, of course.

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  9. Oh my Gawd... my life... Our home was filled with 30 something musicians with fascinating intellectual conversations and they were so patient with us... I remember being them at one time....
    Compete thought? What's that!

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    1. And you know they're thinking "oh, they're really slipping." And in fact they're right. What they don't quite realize is this is an event in their future.

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  10. OMG, Murr, I haven't laughed this hard or fully since the election! I sent it on to everyone I know who is over 60. And am now thinking I should have lowered the age threshold...

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    1. I hope not! Although I've been slipping since about 55. So, ..... ..... yes.

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  11. If I can't recall a name, I start by reciting the alphabet (no, not out loud, unless I'm alone. The dog doesn't count as 'not alone') until some random letter
    sparks my remaining memory.
    Sometimes it works, sometimes...squirrel!

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    1. But how many times have you said "I can't remember, but I know it starts with a B!" And then somebody finally says "MARGARET!" And you're all, yeah. That's it.

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  12. I got stuck on the sex. I kinda remember that word, but not sure I remember exactly what it is...

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  13. Sometimes I'm quite competent that way, even without a young friend. But I do seem to be able to get to my objectives when I don't have to walk to a bookcase and pull out a book. There is an app for any of that, you know.

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    1. Theoretically, I trust you're right. I don't have a huge ability to figure out the fastest way to a good conclusion.

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  14. The hen sitting in on the girl talk is obviously thinking about sex as well. Love the photo.

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    1. She's wondering what is it with all the eggs that never do anything. Just like I used to.

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  15. The hen sitting in on the girl talk is obviously thinking about sex as well. Love the photo.

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  16. That's why this comment is today and not Saturday. I was having a young friend help me figure out my smart phone because she is smarter than me and my phone put together.

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    1. I'm not asking much of my phone. I think it's better that way.

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  17. Replies
    1. I always thought if I wrote a book about retirement it would be called "Is this Tuesday?"

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  18. Spot on! Sad to say. And even though I know she wasn't the star of the post or images, the bewildered chicken caught my eye immediately. Excellent photos. Felt so good to laugh today. Thanks! Kim in PA

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  19. Yes, yes, yes! To all of the above. Around our house, we are famous for asking each other "Did you get the thing about the thing all straightened out with whats-her-name?"

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    1. With accompanying hand gestures, right?

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