The Continuing Disintegration of My Mind
By Carrie Friedman
Flecks of my brain are starting to chip off like old paint. Is this just part of getting older, or what happens when one has a two year old and a one year old.
I threw a bag of trash into the washing machine last week. I didn’t realize it until after I’d poured in the Tide. Flecks of my brain are starting to chip off like old paint. Is this just part of getting older, or what happens when one has a two year old and a one year old and, thus, feeds one’s brain a steady diet of Sesame Street and Peppa Pig, with no time to dine on the newspaper or that Meg Wolitzer book from last year that’s been collecting dust since it was preordered on Amazon? I can’t be certain why, exactly, I’m losing it, but I am and I don’t like it one damn bit. I am becoming one of THOSE women—the kind who putters around instead of walking with purpose. The kind who constantly tells you to remind her to do something, or wanders into rooms and stands there, lost, asking aloud: “Why did I come in here?”
My husband feebly tries to make me feel better about my brain erosion. He has to lie to me and say it’s endearing because he’s married to me. He took that vow. No one wants to be married to a putterer or dodderer. No one finds this attractive, especially when the dodderer in question is a mere 37 years old.
But it’s getting worse: For a whole day I walked around thinking the late night comedian’s name was GEORGE Letterman because I couldn’t, for the life of me, remember his real name.
“I think I have a brain tumor,” I told my husband.
“No, you’re just tired,” he assured me, adding, “I still can’t think of the name of that thing that floats—”
“A floatation device?” I volunteered.
“No. It’s kind of like a tent?” he said.
“No. It’s made out of the same material as a tent.”
After TEN MORE MINUTES of this, we finally arrived at the word Raft.
If we are going down, at least we are going down together, on our own fucking raft.
I once had a beautiful mind (not a Beautiful Mind, mind you). It was full of interesting nooks and crannies, fabulous contradictions: the same brain that stored memorized poetry and Chaucer (in Old English, obvs) also knew ALL the words to Notorious B.I.G.’s final album (may he rest in peace) and remembered every single phone number I’ve ever had. Once upon a time, I could calculate tips for waiters, think of witty comebacks on the spot, recite Annie Hall from start to finish.
Now, not so much.
I asked my husband this morning: “What’s 9 times 7?”
There are two things that make this question unacceptable:
1. I tested out of AP Calculus in high school, then CHOSE to take more math in college because I LIKED IT SO MUCH AND WAS SO GOOD AT IT.
2. I can’t blame fatigue anymore! Our children each sleep an incredible 12 hours a night! Uninterrupted! (To be clear, I am not upset about this. Only disappointed I can’t blame them for my shortcomings.)
Mama don’t do math and Mama don’t speak so good no more. Yesterday, while observing my daughters being nice to each other, I said: “Good sistering, girls!”
There are other examples too. Not neologisms that I am cleverly spouting off, but further evidence that I am not who I used to be. Here are other words I’ve unintentionally made up (and what I meant):
-RandPauly (adjective to describe Tea Party republicans)
It’s a terrifying new frontier, this. Next up, no doubt: a Fanny pack and Med-Alert jewelry.
Now where was I going with this?
When she IS able to write in complete sentences, Carrie Friedman’s latest project is the blog What I DIDN’T Expect When I Was Expecting. She has two small children, a couple of pets, and one awesome husband.