A Traitor of the Closest Kind

I have a problem.

My problem is not easily resolved. It is not something I can simply ignore. It is not something that can be repaired without a great deal of effort. It is not something that can be quickly diagnosed. It is not something that is even easy to explain.

My problem is my brain. My brain is broken.

I suppose, perhaps, that the above statement is a little bit dramatic. There’s nothing physiologically wrong with my brain (as far as I know…), but sometimes I genuinely feel as though there is a disconnect in there somewhere, between the “You can relax for a bit” and the “I need you right now!” synapses. Some days I feel as though my brain has packed up and wandered off on a tropical vacation without me, and that’s just rude.

Sometimes my faculties are in top condition. I’ve most often seen these moments occur when it is particularly busy at work. I’ll be the only one there, piles of paperwork on either side of my desk, talking to four different field tech groups on two different radios, running a control panel, and scribbling out the information I’ll need for later on piles of sticky-notes. I’ve had amazing days when (with the field techs as my partners) I commissioned 25+ instruments in one 12-hour shift, as opposed to the approximate average of 5-10 instruments. I’m rushed and doing a dozen things at once, but somehow everything flows and I get it all done, and by the end of it I feel like a million bucks. My brain is giving me a mental two-thumbs-up.

Then there are other times when I wonder if I haven’t suffered some kind of terrible head trauma and I just don’t remember it. These days seem to come when I’m trying to get chores done and errands run. I’ll be trying to work on this blog and I’ll end up reheating my tea six times because I just plain keep forgetting that it’s there (assuming that I get that far…sometimes I won’t even remember to take the tea-bag out). I’ll run out to the post office and drive right past it and be halfway across town before I remember what I was out for in the first place. Worst of all, I’ll be at the grocery store and end up just staring at a wall of soup for, like, five minutes without even actually seeing what I’m looking at; I’ll only realize what I’m doing when I notice another customer looking at me as though I’ve lost my mind.

Which is what seems to actually be happening.

The brain is a muscle, and like any muscle you have to use it unless you want to lose it. If you don’t exercise your brain (like those moments when I’m at work, multitasking like a boss) you start to lose cognitive function and focus (like those moments when I’m drooling like an idiot in front of the Campbell’s). Unfortunately for me, my brain seems to “lose” much more quickly than it “gains”. I turn into a babbling moron after only a few days of extended “mindless” tasks (i.e. the past few days that I’ve been trying to get the house clean), but it seems to take a good week for my brain to return from vacation once I’ve signaled that I need it again (i.e. I’m usually halfway through my 14-day work shift before my coworkers stop commenting on how often I’m reheating my tea).

I blame a number of things for this phenomenon. I blame the fact that I watch more kids’ shows than adult ones these days (listening to Ernie teach my daughter how to count for the three hundredth time can be pretty mind-numbing). I blame the fact that taking Calculus in university seemed to permanently damage my brain for being able to handle complex information. I blame the fact that sometimes my sinuses get so stuffed that I’m surprised there’s not enough pressure on my brain to actually kill me. I blame a lot of things, but mostly I assume that it’s my fault. Somehow, subconsciously, I choose to be a dribbling imbecile some of the time.

Maybe it’s my brain’s secret way of getting some rest and relaxation. If so, my brain is taking way too many siestas.

Get back on that plane and make your way back to my head, you traitorous mass of neurons. I’ve got a lot of writing to do and it’s a hulluva lot harder without you here helping!

Do you ever feel like your brain has just up and left you? Do you have any explanation for these times, or is it completely random? Have you ever caught yourself staring at a wall of soup for minutes on end? Please share!

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